Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Legacy of Grandmothers

For the past few days, a voice in my head has constantly reminded me of my grandmother’s birthday this coming Monday – for some reason, I have been moved to reach out to my sister and cousins to come together for a celebration. My grandmother was born on December 15, 1898 – 110 years ago – and I can’t get her out of my mind this week.

This isn’t surprising to me – she lived with us during my growing up years and was a tremendous force in my life – providing loving security and all of the lessons needed by a girl child of the 1950’s to grow into a “lady” with morals and faith and “manners.” She was far from perfect, and as I grew up I recognized her flaws as powerfully as I appreciated her love, but her voice forever speaks to me as I make crucial decisions in my own life.

In earlier blogs, I have mentioned that I share the daily care of my grandson, Lucas, with his other grandmother, Sheryl. We each have him at our separate homes two days a week, and spend Wednesday at my house, giving Lucas and my granddaughter, Alivia, a double dose of grandmothering. I jokingly call it “doubles day”. This arrangement works out wonderfully for Lucas – he is secure and happy, and always surrounded with the loving faces he knows so well.

Sheryl and I have become very close friends since our children were married, and we enjoy sharing this precious time with our grandson. Our day together is filled with conversation and laughter, and we handle the stresses with grace. Sheryl often says that we “zig and zag” well together.

Over the past few days, as I was pondering this strong feeling of my grandmother’s upcoming birthday, I also thought about Sheryl’s stories of growing up with her grandmothers. Both of them lived with her for a long period of time during her childhood, and had a strong influence on her – passing on a deep religious faith, a love of crafts and needlework, and a loving security.

I wonder if being raised with grandmothers intimately involved in our lives has made us more determined to care for our own grandchildren. Maybe on some level we are called to pass on the love and security that they provided to us – we realize the importance of their unconditional love and will perpetuate this grandmotherly love for another generation.

These three women, who have been gone from our lives now for a long time, are still alive in our hearts, and passing on the greatest possible gift to their own great-great-grandchildren – a grandmother’s love and care.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!!!

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