Dedicated to my wonderful grandmothers, granddaughters and children.
“Grandma”. What a privileged word. “Grandma”. To have the name of “Grandmother” or “Grandma” or “Nana” or “Nona” or other such name is an incredible privilege. It means that one has successfully raised her children to the extent that she can now respect them as the wonderful parents that they are, and they in turn return that respect by entrusting their most precious person in the care of the very person who taught them how to be so special...and yet, somehow, those children that we have sacrificed our lives for, have learned to be so wonderful through more than we gave them, or despite what we could give them. What a privilege to know these wonderful young adults who have enriched our very lives with theirs and now, in full circle, have allowed us the privilege of complimenting their efforts of raising, in their turn, another life or lives, as precious as theirs. What a wonderful experience to be a part of!
I have many fond memories of both of my grandmothers. Both were a special influence in my life. Sadly, both of my grandmothers are gone. Recently, I lost my mother’s mother. It meant a lot to me that she, at almost 90 years of age, and in her right mind, was able to open her eyes and barely lift her head, for just a moment, to see my third grandchild, her newest great great granddaughter, before she died. She knew who she was looking at, and while it was a great effort to open her failing eyes, she knew what a privilege she had before her and she took advantage of it. I am grateful to have had two wonderful grandmothers who understood the special place of a grandmother in the life of a child and each of them lovingly took their roles with pleasure.
The sacrifices of a grandmother for her now older children and their children are constant. From the first time the baby falls, to the calls for advice at all hours, to weeping with the parents during the hard years, Grandmas are there. Though their husband may have left the family before the grandchildren ever got to know him, grandmas struggle to fill the void he left while continuing in their nurturing and support of their children as they in turn struggle to raise their children with wisdom despite this worlds conflicting values and ideals.
Treasured are the times that create the bonds of Grandparents and Grandchildren; swinging on the front porch, handmade dolls complete with doll wardrobe, catching tadpoles in the farm’s seasonal pond, making mud pies and picking wildflowers. I always had a rule-never wear your good clothes to grandma’s, unless you were coming for a tea party where only grandmas, children and dolls are invited, of course. Fortunately there is always room for a parent with an imagination to pull up a chair.
What a privilege it is to be a grandmother! Who else can walk at exactly the pace that a small child’s little legs need, while still walking at her normal stride, making the child feel a part of the group even though she can’t keep up with all of them? Who else will enjoy so much the constant chatter of a little voice following her as she goes about her household chores? Who else would relish the name of “Grandma Cookoo” said often in public and not feel the need to quickly explain that she is named that for the cookoo clock in her dining room, but instead takes the name with pride?
When my mother’s mother died, I thanked my uncle-her son-and his family for taking such good care of my Grandmother all these years, and especially the last days. He responded by saying, “It was a privilege”.
Maybe, the privilege that is “Grandmother” belongs to all of us.