My mother lived to the ripe old age of 94. She was an excellent mom and a fantastic grandma. Notice the discrepancy in the two adjectives I just used?
As a Mom she did everything a good mom could do; she kept me healthy, taught me self-esteem and she prepared me for the real world. She worked outside the home, she cooked, she cleaned and she did the family laundry. She also laid down rules and set up expectations for my behaviour.
When you're young and growing up you don't realize how much a mom has to accomplish each and every day. You also don't understand how much a mom worries about you and hopes that you won't grow up to be a hardened criminal. It makes sense then that there will be times when you resent your mother.
No, you can't wear that to school.
No, you can't stay out till 2:00.
No, you can't have those running shoes
You see? Moms are very, very good at what they do but they can never be fantastic. Their demands on their children always get in the way.
However, as soon as the job of rearing is done and mom is completely sure that you haven't become an axe murderer, a hooker, or a pyromaniac she relaxes completely and begins to morph. Now she's ready to be FANTASTIC Grandma, Nanna or Bubby.
Suddenly she doesn't think it's a big problem if your daughter wears two different colored socks to school. Does she care that your son hasn't washed his hair in three days? 'Relax,' she says, I promise you he won't go to his wedding with dirty hair.' You watch in amazement and ask yourself,' what happened to the witch that insisted on clean clothes and a bath every day?'
And the kids LOVE her. Of course they do. It's not hard to love someone who offers a cookie even if you don't finish your broccoli. How can you dislike the person who listens intently to every single solitary song you sing off key. Yep, Grannie is fantastic. Forever. Even when you're older and you have children of your own she continues to occupy a very, very special part of your heart. That is the way of the world.
I recently asked four moms and a grandma to describe their own granny and why she is so dear to them. This is what I learned.
I love my grandmother for so many reasons, but especially for all of the little things she has done for me over the course of my life, Memories include playing 'airplane', when she was the seated passenger and I was the fancy flight attendant. Grandma took me to my first bingo night at age five. She told me, 'it's just for us girls'. She taught me to swim, sew and bake, and to love all animals as if they were our pets, and to be kind to all people, as if they were our family. When I think of beauty, I always think of my Grammy!
Contact Info for Laura
I've been thinking alot about my grandmother this week, especially since I heard it was National Alzheimers Day. Here's what she meant to me:
Grammie was a gentle, beautiful soul. She had a difficult first marriage but raised five fantastic children (including my mom).
Grammie was a writer and an artist. Her work is hanging in my parent's house and is a reminder of her every time I see it.
Grammie was a loving wife to her soul mate Big Em (my step-grandfather). After she passed away, he kept a flower in his window every day of his life. True love.
Grammie makes me want to be a kinder, gentler more peaceful person. Not only did I love her, I admired her and wish I was more like her.
Contact Info for Sarah
'Who promised you tomorrow?' Gran would ask as we begged off from a task. 'We’ll do it tomorrow, Gran!' we’d reply. 'Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today!' she’d chide. We’d laugh scampering off to the Scottish seaside. A hotelier with 11 children, organisation and faith were key. Tithe for the ‘kirk’. Settle accounts promptly. NEVER conduct business on the Sabbath. Reading was like breathing. Biblical figures sprang to life at her knee. Adventure. Drama. Love. War. History. Geography. Mountains erupted. Bushes flamed. Sheep flocked. We saw it all at Green Gates! I remember.
Contact Info for Ursula
My Yiayia lived in Greece so I didn’ t have the pleasure of seeing her all the time. The little time we spent together, I will never forget. Picture a Greek village woman always dressed in a skirt and black apron, chasing after chickens. She was always cooking up a delicious Greek feast with fresh vegetables from the farm. She and my Pappou also grew tobacco and if I close my eyes, I can still remember the smell of as it hung out to dry in the hot summer sun. When Yiayia wasn’t sharing stories about the war, my dad and growing up in poverty, we just sat in beautiful silence.
Contact Info for Maria
I loved my grandmother because she was a feminist role model before it was cool. At age 16 (in 1923) she went to Wellesly College and graduated at 18 with a degree in teaching. At that time she was the youngest graduate. She then went to Boston University and got her Masters Degree. When she graduated from B.U. she moved 125 miles away on her own knowing no one and got a job teaching in the local high school. She met my grandfather in church and they were married for over 50 years.
Contact Info for Shannon
I barely knew my Nana. She lived across the ocean, and I only met her about a dozen times, but she always held a special place in my heart. I spent a month at her house in England the summer before I went to high school. I remember reading almost every V.C. Andrews book imaginable that summer (I was a little bored by the end) but when I look back now that she is gone; I'm really glad I had that time with her.
Contact Info for Maureen
Why is your grandmother important to you? We'd love to hear.
Writer's Note: This post is dedicated to Bubby Bea who was my mother and Erica Ehm's grandmother. She was an excellent mom but the perfect grandmother.