I don’t sleep well most nights. Sometimes it’s my back that keeps me awake. But, many nights it is my head that just won’t shut down. I’ve tried all of the tricks of the trade including the one offered by the Hubs. For the record, it involves concentrating on holding your tongue completely in the center of your mouth not touching any sides. Easy peazy…sleep comes…yeah, for him. However, for me sleep has always been difficult.
Many nights I lie awake thinking about incomplete projects or projects yet to be created. Last night, I could not get the word “grandparent” out of my head. I kept going over and over the picture in my mind. Maybe it’s the recent news of two new babies coming next spring. I started to reflect on the grandparents in my life, specifically the grandmothers and how very different they were from each other. So, from the cheap seats, here are my observations.
My maternal grandmother was not very nice; at least that is my impression. I know my sister adored her. Dovie was the first person who made me feel bad about how I looked. Whenever I walked through her door, her first question to me was always “why are you so fat?” I’m convinced my issues with body image were born on her lips. The other side of that coin was my paternal grandmother, Josephine. Her love was absolutely unconditional. I never saw her enough, but when I did she always made a point of telling me how much she loved me and how very proud I made her. I still find myself reading the few letters I received from her when I went to college. I started in August. She died in October. I missed her support!
When I think of the grandparents my own children inherited, their experience most likely appeared bi-polar as well. My mother, Sandy, was the person who believed the sun rose and set in her grandchildren. That’s not to say there weren’t moments of drama as I was witness to my Beauty and Mom going head to head a couple of times. But, even she would tell you her Grandmother always had her back. Whatever they wanted, they got…even if it meant her very last dollar. At the same time, their paternal Grandmother was the distant rule keeper; at least that’s how the kiddos saw her. With job transfers, we moved often and unlike my mother who visited new locations, Emma never seemed to make it happen. I’m not sure whose fault that was and looking back, I think we should have tried harder to bridge the distance. Needless to say, fostering a close relationship with many miles in between is difficult at best. They don’t say it, but I know they see the relationship she has with other grandchildren and the child-like mind wonders…why?
Now, I am getting to play the role of grandmother and I see the differences as well. Linda is the grandmother who sews, hikes and bakes. I am grateful that such skills might be passed on to another generation. While I am the grandmother who can point the way to the Amazon “place order” button, stock a snack pantry with the best of them and can sometimes find her way around a Pinterest craft project. We are indeed different women.
My point in this entire diatribe is that mothers come to the grandmother table with so many differing styles and talents and that is just fine. Children are such resilient creatures and will take away what they need and throw away what is unnecessary. And, even the unhealthy contributions can be healed and forgiven with time and understanding. So, if you are losing sleep over your own grandmothering skill set, let it go. Just dole out a little love, patience and knowledge and you’ll be just fine. Personally, I am grateful for all of the grandmothers I have known and the one I have become. After all, it’s the only one I know to be.
Now that I’m awake, let’s go shopping. I know where the “place order” button is located!