Word has it in early June I’ll be joining the ranks of grandmothers around the world. Lots of people have been congratulating me. While I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the well-wishers, whenever I hear the words I can’t help thinking: “Congratulations for what?” All I did was give birth to my wonderful son and help to raise him into an awesome young man who is a loving husband and will, undoubtedly, become a stellar dad. Hmm. Guess I will accept a few props after all, thank you.
As David and prepare to meet and greet our grandson, I’ve been considering the kind of grandmother I aspire to be. But the thing is, I don’t know from grandmas. Yes, technically, I had two… as so many do, but I lost them long, long ago, which, as Oscar Wilde pointed out, was “very careless.” Grandma #1 died before I was born. I would have been her 4th granddaughter and 9th grandchild. Not likely she and I would have had a bunch of bonding time together. Grandma #2 died when I was four. I was her 5th granddaughter. (Another girl? How special!) From old photos, it’s hard to imagine she enjoyed children much… or life, for that matter.
Of course, I’ve observed grannies in films and pop culture. Most are kindly, affectionate and infinitely patient. Most come with a requisite twinkle, dimples, and ample breasts. They love to knit and garden. On Chopped and Top Chef, 9 out of 10 contestants apparently got their first culinary training in grandma’s kitchen. So there’s that too.
What kind of Granny Annie will I be? I’ll figure it out as I go along (and blog about it, no doubt) but here’s what I’ve got so far:
1. I will show my grandson, from Day One, that I’m delighted with and grateful for this opportunity to get to know him.
2. I am here to help him understand that he is part of a family that loves him unconditionally and can teach him essential things about love, trust, respect, compassion and finding fun and humor in life.
3. I am here to help him understand and appreciate himself and to use his talents for good.
4. I am here to help him understand emotions (his own and other people’s).
5. I am here to help him develop a moral compass and the social courage to do the right thing.
6. I am here to help him explore his interests so he can best find his path.
7. I am here to read to him, tell him stories, play games, share silly songs and teach him how to make bagels from scratch.
8. I am here to help him understand and appreciate the natural world and the world of people.
9. I am here to be his teacher, his champion, and a safe person to come to no matter what’s going on.
10. I am here to be his friend.
If you are a grandparent, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your grandchildren and what you’ve taught them. I’m taking notes.