On Being a Grandma

Scan_20150909Today is my granddaughter, Brenna’s birthday–she’s eighteen years old–Yikes! It seems like only yesterday that we were meeting her for the first time when we took her brother, Christopher to the hospital.

Christopher, who was two and a half, was anxious to get to the hospital,  but his first few moments with Brenna showed he had some doubts about this new family member.

Being a grandmother has been the source of some of my greatest joys in life. Before Christopher was born, I was given a book entitled “Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother.” It is a fun and engaging book and I related to it very well. The first chapter is about naming grandmother. The author points out that you won’t get to name the baby, but you will be able to choose what the baby calls you.  At first consideration, it doesn’t seem that important, but to someone used to calling an old person grandma, it is cause for concern.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about being called grandma, but I didn’t especially like any of the alternatives either.  Of course, it would be some time before that would actually be a concern. And what I learned is  you don’t name yourself, your grandchild decides what you will be called.  At first Chris called me “Ama.” Because my niece still calls my mother “Bema,” I figured that would be my name from then on. But by the time Brenna was old enough to talk, I was Grandma and my husband was Papa. We have carried those titles proudly ever since.

I have cherished every moment I have been fortunate to spend with my grandchildren, and look forward to any time I have with them.  When my grandchildren are staying with us, I put everything else aside and spend my time with them.  That time is too precious to waste on housework or other chores that can wait. There are better things to do, like hide and seek, or dress-up. I had a box full of bead necklaces. One of our favorite things to do was to hang them from the ceiling fan. Then we would turn on the fan and hide under a blanket while the beads flew around the room. It was great fun!

At one of their birthday parties, as they opened gift after gift, I came up with a idea. For the next birthday, we would spend a day with that grandchild. At first it was a day–a trip to the Phoenix Zoo, or a movie. Eventually, it grew into a short trip. We traveled to Tucson to see Kartchner Caverns and Old Tucson. We even hiked to the bottom of Havasupai Canyon. The gifts we have given them are long gone–broken, out grown. But the memories of the times we’ve spent with our grandchildren will be with them forever.

I want to close with a poem from “Funny You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother.”

 

Inheritance

 

China cupboards filled with cups of memories,

A piano’s tune that sang its note before me,

Secret drawers that hold my parent’s past,

All these are here for me to see

And so piece together what has gone before

To understand the people who once walked these halls.

 

For in the home my grandmother created,

I find the beginnings of the love I have inherited.

 

 

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