What My Granddaughter Will Get from My Grandmothers
Memories of my grandmothers intercept thoughts of my granddaughter who is expected to arrive within a few days. Her brother is my first grandchild but she will be my first granddaughter (both children of my son), making it easy for each of them to be a favorite. But why do memories of my grandmothers overwhelm me this time more than the last time? Genetic relatedness, perhaps?
A paternal granddaughter ends up getting an X chromosome that is almost exactly the same as her grandmother's. This lets her share a little extra DNA with that grandmother.— Julie Granka, Stanford University*
Remembering My Grandmothers
Before I grasped the concept of God, my maternal grandmother was my only refuge and strength, my very present help in time of trouble. When I needed her, she was always there with a comforting perspective and a reminder of a walk we would soon enjoy together.
My paternal grandmother was a different image of God with a standing order for me to ask and receive, seek and find, knock and watch the door open. She provided for my needs and I remember her saying, “Even if I don’t have it, I’ll get it for you.”
Now that their granddaughter (yours truly) is awaiting her granddaughter, some features of their grandparenting deserve to be remembered.
Passing It On
In my mind, I am cradling the young one and praying that as a credit to my grandmothers’ influence, she will sense through me:
- The vision of womanhood;
- The sound of love;
- The fragrance of family;
- The flavor of wisdom;
- The touch of heaven.
Grandmother with Granddaughter
(1) The Vision of Womanhood
My granddaughter will be the most accepting of my present self-image since she has no reference to who I was at any other period of my life.
The vision of womanhood I present to her will be branded with characteristics I saw in my grandmothers, imitated in my own life, and plan to contribute to hers. Among other features:
- Self-worth as an individual and as a female;
- Positive, helping attitude toward other females, consistent with my interaction with her mother and other women in our space;
- Respect for self and others evidenced by speech, dress and conduct.
I want my granddaughter to be glad that she’s a girl; but I want her to determine her career path according to her passion and potential, rather than her gender. Healthy, productive womanhood will just be the foundation on which she grows into the best achiever she can be.
(2) The Sound of Love
My mother and I lived with her mother, and I can still hear my grandmother praying that her granddaughters become “corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” It is a quote from Psalm 144 in the King James Version, the only one we had back then.
It was not just the words (because I didn’t understand them). It was the earnestness and the sense of something extraordinary which sounded like love. I wanted to deserve that love and whenever she praised me or defended me, I renewed my commitment to make her proud.
Thanks to modern technology, distance will have no bearing on when and how often my granddaughter hears my voice. She will hear me call her name; sing a song; tell a story, and as a tribute to my grandmother’s memory, pray a prayer. Whichever way I choose, I want my words to speak love and affirmation. I will also interpret her baby sounds and later her questions as proof of the love that connects us.
(3) The Fragrance of Family
Two strangers may bond quickly and discover afterwards that they are biologically related. When that happens some say (at least, in the Caribbean they do) that they “smell the blood,” suggesting that the blood of relatives have a similar scent. If that were true, it might account for special bonding between grandbabies and grandparents.
Grandparents and grandkids profoundly affect one another – just because they exist! This bond is probably the most simple form of love that exists.**— Arthur Kornhaber, M.D., The Foundation for Grandparenting.
The Combing of Grandaughter
Regardless of the competition and jealousy which may develop among siblings and cousins, grandmothers usually remain above the conflict. They dispense love fairly regardless of birth order or any other sequence. That too, I learned from my grandmothers. Despite my birth order on their lists, my security and self-worth were most healthy in their presence.
Grandmothers possess the greatest scent of family because:
- They are the easiest explainable link between aunts, uncles and cousins.
- They satisfy every child’s need for love;
- They speak all the love languages: affirmation, hugs, gifts, attention and assistance.
May my granddaughter always sense the fragrance of favor, faith and everything else family in my company.
Grandmother is the Best
(4) The Flavor of Wisdom
You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. – Proverb
In other words, there is no way the granddaughter can tell the story truthfully without it making sense to Grandma. If Grandma does not understand it, her first concern is to help the granddaughter sort out the facts – especially when it comes to the facts of life. Grandmother’s wisdom in loving, listening, supporting and guiding comes from various sources:
- Lessons learned from experiences of naïvety and folly;
- Hands on training in parenting the granddaughter’s parent;
- Examples from her own parents and grandparents;
- Continuing- education efforts to master the art of grandparenting.
My granddaughter may not understand wisdom at the start, but when she does, I want to be an example of that virtue. It always thrills me when folks mention my grandmother’s wisdom. My aim is to establish a girl-friendly relationship in which my granddaughter feels comfortable to be herself, cry, laugh, jump or cuddle with the assurance that my response will be appropriate.
Grandmother Portrait Poll
Which of the four grandmother portraits on this page best reminds you of your grandmother? Feel free to say why in the comments.
(5) The Touch of Heaven
I remember my paternal grandmother sitting me up on her lap when everyone else thought I was too grown for that. It was a touch of heaven, having my secret need supplied without having to request it.
I shall attempt to touch my granddaughter with more than my hands--with the gleam in my eye expressing awe of being in her presence, with laughter and smiles to evoke her joy, with heartfelt interest revealing genuine love and care.
I intend to deliver the touch of heaven in my hugs, every chance I get.
© 2015 Dora Isaac Weithers