Posted: September 10, 2018
For Priscilla (Cil) and Ken Stenman, loving grandkids is second nature. Sitting across from her husband, Ken, in their home at Holly Creek Life Plan Community, Cil displayed a thick photo scrapbook of memories with their two daughters, son and eight grandchildren.
“When our five oldest grandkids had all turned three, we asked to take them for a week,” she explained. “We called our place ‘Camp Mormor,’ which is Swedish for ‘Mother’s Mother.’”
“Camp Mormor” was quickly established as an annual tradition. One favorite camp ritual (established with their two youngest granddaughters) included a yearly gift hidden away in the kitchen cupboard by “the mountain fairies.”
Choosing to transition from their own home in the mountains to a retirement community was at first a difficult decision for the active Stenmans. But far from them slowing down, they found that the move actually offered new opportunities to continue connecting with their growing family.
“Once we came here, we found out that there was so much to do,” Cil explained. And since living in Centennial meant that they could live within an hour of all their grandchildren, the couple quickly began to share their new opportunities. Ken and Cil’s youngest granddaughters have regularly joined them swimming in the community pool, playing in the community’s special “kid’s corner,” and getting milkshakes from the grill, one of three Holly Creek restaurants.
“They make them special milkshakes so malty they can hardly drink them,” Ken added with a chuckle.
There’s also the community movie theater. “Sometimes we’ve had it all to ourselves,” Ken shared. “When the grandkids were younger we could play their videos. They’d bring stuffed animals and watch with us in their pajamas.”
In addition to the mountain fairy cupboard tradition, new traditions have also sprung from the Stenman’s years at Holly Creek. Every year they hold a Christmas scavenger hunt for the lost gingerbread boy with clues for their grandchildren hidden throughout the community and in friends’ apartments. All the grandkid birthdays fall within a few months, so Ken also described how they usually host an annual “cousins’ birthday celebration” in Holly Creek’s community gazebo. Cil flipped through her scrapbook to display photos as he shared the details.
Cil and Ken are also DJs at the community’s onsite radio station, HCRK. They are thankful that the younger members of their family also can and do join them in the station as well.
Both grandparents hope to continue to share these kinds of special times together for many years to come. September 9th might be Grandparents Day, but for Ken and Cil, it is a celebration every time they are with their grandchildren.
“Our children have taught us so much,” Priscilla explained. “Now the grandkids have begun to teach us too.”
Written by Bryn Phinney, who writes for Holly Creek. This story originally appeared in Denver Post’s YourHub and is used with permission.