Becoming A Granny

I was recently talking to Mac about the day he was born. Every time I told him an interesting fact about his birth day, he answered, “I don’t remember that.” (He’s 14 remember. Enough said!)

All that remembering got me thinking about the significance of that day – the day I became a Granny. Another Grandmother was born that day too – Carol, Mac’s other Granny or Grams, as she is called. Grams and I have talked about that special day and agree it is a day we will never forget for many reasons.

First, it’s the  day I became a Grandmother. Sounds simple but is quite profound. To see your daughter become a mother is quite an emotional, touching moment. Certainly more overwhelming than I was expecting or was prepared for.

I laughed, I cried, I applauded, I whispered, I hugged everyone and I fell in love with a new baby boy. What a feeling it is to instantly know you love someone completely, overwhelmingly, with all your heart. Except for my children, I can’t think of another relationship that begins so intensely and so immediately. And then lasts for a lifetime!

I knew at that first moment that this precious boy could have whatever I had, share anything of mine he needed and claim any of my resources that were necessary for him to succeed. If required, I would give my life for his. I knew that and I told him so, on his first day of life.

Mac brought a kind of joy that I had never felt before. It was different than the glow of childbirth. Not better or brighter but certainly as life changing and character altering. He filled a spot in my heart that could not have been filled by anyone but him. I couldn’t have been happier or more blessed.

I also became aware of my responsibilities as a Granny. I suddenly had a new job in the family – that of Grandmother, elder woman, Mother of Mac’s Mother. My new title was a bit sobering in the midst off such great happiness.

My mind was full of all the plans I had for being the world’s best Granny. I would be funny. I would be supportive and say yes as often as possible. I would learn sign language. I would encourage Mac to be kind, generous and fair. I would provide music. I would smock outfits for him. I would teach him games. I would take him outside. I would read to him. I would take him camping. I would teach him to swim and ride bike. I would write him letters. I would kiss him hello and goodbye, every time!

Hard to believe all this happened in an instant. But it was a very special moment of a very special day that I never want to forget.

Kidspeak

While walking in the neighborhood, I met up with my neighbor’s little 4 year old son named Brian. Brian immediately jumped into my arms.

“My goodness!” I said. “You sure have gotten heavy. How did that happen?”

He thought for a moment and proudly said, “I’ve been eating so many dinners!”

I can totally identify!

Questions I Wish I Had Asked My Parents

In this year of celebrating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and remembering all the years in our past, I have been thinking a lot about my parents. They have both passed on now and I have so many questions I wish I had asked them while they were still able to give me the answers.

My parents knew each other their whole lives. They were born in the same town four days apart. My mom was the youngest of all girls and my dad the youngest of all boys. My two grandmothers were in the hospital together and joked about how they should trade babies so they would have a different-sex child in the family.

And those two babies grew up and got married (I always thought that was a great premise for a movie). So where are all the stories of growing up together? Going to school together? Seeing each other around town? Knowing each other forever? I wish I had asked.

And I don’t know exactly how they got married. They didn’t date in High School, so it must have happened during WWII. I wish I had asked how my dad proposed and how they planned the wedding. Did they have a honeymoon? What did they wear? How did they know they were right for each other? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked what prompted them both to enter the service. My dad tried to enlist and found out he was color-blind, which meant he could only go into the Navy Seabees – Construction Battalion. My mother, believe it or not, was a Marine. I think she enlisted because of her sister Irene, who also joined the Marines. But why the Marines? I wish I had asked,

I wish I had asked them how they felt about the war. Were they ever afraid, confused, proud, ashamed or conflicted as an American? Were they glad to be in the Military? Sorry they joined? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them how things were after the war. They were married and started having children right away. My dad was in college on the GI Bill. I think they were living in a mobile home park. Sounds like an “I Love Lucy” segment, doesn’t it? That couldn’t have been easy. But how did they manage? Was being a veteran a proud thing? How did they feel? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them about their thoughts of early parenthood. My mother had three children in three years while my dad was going to school. And she had no family nearby. But I never heard the stories. Were they too horrible? Just forgettable? What? I wish I had asked.

How I wish I could sit down with both of them and ask these and other questions. When I had the chance, I didn’t think of it or it didn’t seem necessary. Now that it’s too late, I’m thinking of so many things only they can answer.

My advice to others – ask the questions NOW!! Don’t wait!! And if you are the elder in your family, write down all the stories for the younger ones. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait until someone else thinks of it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Just don’t wait. Do it NOW. Because then it will be too late and they will say – I wish I had asked.

Encouraging Words

I have spent the last week talking to each of my grandchildren for various reasons. I found myself complimenting them for their good work and encouraging them to continue to do well. These words are important to hear whether the grandchild is 22 or 11, as mine are.

I know sometimes words of encouragement don’t easily flow out of our mouths, so here are some suggestions for you. Practice them and use them as often as you can. Kids cannot hear them often enough from their elders.

1–That was so good of you!

2–Great job! I’m so proud of you!

3–Thank you for doing that on your own.

4–That was so kind of you!

5–Fantastic! Thanks for obeying the first time!

6–You know what? You are a great kid!

7–I really appreciate what you did!

8–Look at what you’ve accomplished!

9–Thanks for doing that before I asked!

10–What a great decision you made!

11–Tell me more about that.

12–You figured it out! That’s awesome!

13–One step at a time – you’re doing it!

14–Fabulous job!

15–Good for you! You were really listening!

16–I know that was hard, but you kept trying.

17–I love how creative you are!

18–Keep going! You can do it!

19–Thank you for sharing with me.

And don’t forget the all important . . . . . .

20–I love you!

What Does Bravery Really Mean?

My ten year old granddaughter Marie tells me she wants to be part of the musical play being put on at school. She loves to sing and thinks she would do well in one of the parts.

The problem? Marie is very shy, hates being the center of attention and is not very comfortable with crowds. “I’m scared Granny!” she tells me.

The tryout is a sort of Karaoke style which Marie was not able to do the first time but is going to try to do again.

“How can I do it if I’m so scared?” she asks.

I tell her it has nothing to do with being scared. Everyone is scared  .  .  .  .  . about something  .  .  .  .  . always. We all are. Big people, little people, shy people, gregarious people, introverts, extroverts, inexperienced, experienced, smart, dumb, all people are afraid at sometime about something. It happens to EVERYONE  .  .  .  .  . ALL THE TIME.

So what is the solution? I tell her that brave people act even though they are scared. It’s just that simple – Do it anyway, no matter how scared you are!

Then there was a short pause in the conversation. I guess Marie was thinking because she  said in a tiny little voice, “Are you saying I’m brave?”

“Absolutely, I’m saying you’re brave! I think you are the bravest ten year old I know. You are scared and you are still going to tryout again. And this time you will do it, because you will imagine me sitting out front in the audience cheering you on and passing strength to you with my smile.”

“Now do you think you can do it?” I ask. “Yes, I can Granny. Yes, I can. I’m going to go right up there and sing my song as best as I can. I know I can do it this time!” says Marie.

I think Marie completely understood the meaning of bravery. She understood the fear was not going to leave or get any less. She understood the attention was all going to be focused on her. She understood there would be a large audience of people listening to her perform. She would face some of her biggest fears head on. But if she really wanted to sing, she would have to act in spite of the fears not flee because of them.

I believe she will. I believe she believes in herself and knows that others believe in her. She’s brave and we know it. Most especially, she knows it!

I expect to hear next week that Marie made it through the tryout successfully and has a part in the play.

My Marie is so brave, she may forget all her fears while she is singing and end up with the lead in the play. It could happen! It’s happened to other brave girls in the past, I’m sure.

She comes from a long line of brave women. Her mother is most wonderfully brave and her Granny is  .  .  .  .  . well, I try to set the standard for the women in my clan, so yes, I am brave.

And Marie will be too because she will see it in others in the family. She will be taught by others in the family. She will be strengthened by others in the family. And her bravery will be appreciated and enjoyed by others in the family.

Bravery of this sort requires the work of the village. It very seldom can be done by oneself in a vacuum. It requires example, training, support, encouragement and reward.

So I say again, this will work because the village has Marie’s back  .  .  .  .  and front and sides and insides and outsides. She’s covered. She will be brave and she will succeed.

That’s what a child needs to be brave. 1–See it in others. Have an example to go by. 2–Be taught by someone. Have it explained. Hear words that will be remembered and then passed on to the next generation. 3–Be strengthened by others who help her prepare, listen to her practice, give constructive advice, help her to and from performances, help her get dressed, etc. Others to be in the audience and make it a big deal.  4–Plan for the success. Don’t be surprised and unready to celebrate the good news when it comes. Let the child know you were expecting it.

Any amount of bravery, even one small act, is to be applauded and celebrated. The events will build on one another. Being brave gets easier, but should never be taken for granted.

I can hardly wait to hear the good news next week about Marie’s tryout.

I have complete faith!