Students and grandparents bond after living together

The relationships seniors Kendall Gaignat and Allie Harvey have with their grandmothers has grown after moving in


By Andrew Tow

In 2012 when, senior Kendall Gaignet’s grandmother Ova Gaignat moved in with her family there relationship has strengthened. “Originally, I wasn’t that close with her because I just saw her on holidays or if I needed to stay with her while my parents were gone. But, it brought us a lot closer together because now I see her everyday and I help take care of her.” Kendall said.

Elizabeth Joseph, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

Sitting down for dinner, senior Kendall Gaignat shares highlights of her day with her family, including her grandmother, Ova Gaignat a nightly occurrence.

Due to a multitude of factors, students and their families have taken in grandparents to care for them. While Ova came to live with her in 2012 after health issues arose, senior Allie Harvey’s grandmother Dilsa Gonzalez moved in with her due to living conditions in her native country, Panama.

Although the experience has been difficult, Harvey has grown from the experience of caring for her grandmother.

“When she first came, it was just kind of weird because we never had a relationship,” Harvey said. “But, as time goes on I’ve become a lot more catering to her, I’ll try to help her as much as I can.”

Because Gonzalez and Harvey speak different languages, as well as other factors, Harvey has found maintaining a positive relationship with her grandmother difficult. However, caring for Gonzalez has also made Harvey grow more empathetic in her interactions with others.

“It’s just really helped me realize a lot of people don’t always look as bad as they might be feeling,” Harvey said. “But, it’s still our job to make them feel as at home as we can.”

While Harvey has seen “a strain” in family dynamics, Kendall has seen the relationships between family members grow stronger after Ova moved in with the Gaignats.

“We’ve definitely come closer together as a family in order to take care of her,” Kendall said. “While she was here, she fell and broke her hip and her elbow, so we had to … strengthen our family bond for her to get better and be there for her.”

Like Harvey and Gonzalez, the bond between Ova and her family has changed as a result of her moving in. However, before coming to stay with the Gaignats, the initial move presented some worries for Ova.

“I was afraid they’d get tired of me, so I tried to be good,” Ova said. “But they’ve been good to me, awfully good to me. I’m not sorry I moved in with them. And they let me bring my furniture with me, and we’ve been getting along real good.“

While Kendall has noticed a positive impact on her and her siblings, she has also noticed a positive impact on Ova.

“Compared to the other options that we had, I definitely think she is really happy here,” Kendall said. “I think she has a good life here, even though she doesn’t do much here. She’s really fun to be around, so I hope that she can say the same for us.”

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