On being a Grandma; Following Rosemarie’s Rules

Barclay here –

In her book, Becoming Grandma, Leslie Stahl describes grand parenting as “an unspeakable joy” where “your heart grows new chambers.”

This year I became a grandma.  And in this new role, I aspire to take after after my mother-in -law, Rosemarie.

You see, Rosemarie could have authored the Grandma playbook.

As a first-time mom, I embodied the “Peter Principle”  — meaning, I was in over my head.  But Rosemarie  kept her mouth shut while I fumbled with baby Jared.  She said NOTHING when I tried in vain to comfort my colicky, squirmy, sweaty infant.  Instead, she just told me what a great mother I was and then demurely asked it she could hold Jared (who must have felt instant relief there was a professional in his midst.)  She modeled what mothering looks like. Without words.

Rosemarie was also a faithful babysitter; a listening counselor; and she never missed a performance, a practice, a game – to which she always brought treats.  Among Alex’s high school tennis teammates, Rosemarie was Grandma to all the girls.

She was also a cool Grandma.  She took Jared to rock concerts,  encouraged Alex in her rock collecting, and made up silly songs and dance moves about Fig Newton cookies, of all things.

Rosemarie now lives in Phoenix, but she remains close to Jared and Alex.  Four years ago, she embraced a new grandchild  – Kathleen, Jared’s wife, whom she adores.

Rosemarie doesn’t bug her adult grandkids with daily texts and calls;  but she’s always got their back.  She prays constantly, and she’s enthralled with news, beaming when her grandkids reach out. Which they do.

So may I exude Rosemarie’s love and wisdom!   As my heart grows new chambers.  And I compose a silly song or two.

 

Joy here –

I am bursting with happiness for my dear friend Barclay!  She will be a wonderful grandmother.  She has learned from a pro! I only know Rosemarie through FB, but Barclay has described a lady who has taught her much and knew when to stay in the background, as well as when to shower special attention on her grandkids.

I, sadly, did not have grandparents growing up.  My father’s parents both died before I was born and my mother’s father died before I entered the world as well.  I was named for grandpa Jack, as is the custom in the Jewish religion, a great honor.  My mother’s mother was an invalid with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and was in pain most of the time when I visited her in a nursing home  as a very young child.

Many articles have been written about the positive effects of a having a grandparent close by who is involved in their grandchildren’s lives. (Research out of Switzerland and Germany has been published in the journal,  Evolution and Human Behavior.) It’s the caregiving, apparently that makes the difference —   not just being a grandparent who visits occasionally, but one who actually helps out.   No pressure on my children, but I’m counting on you for my longevity!

Just like I couldn’t wait to become a parent, I am hoping and praying that one day I will be called Grandma by some little kid.

So, in the meantime, congratulations to Barclay and Brett.  So happy for them both!  They will be amazing grandparents.

Today’s Takeaway –

Life is filled with many ups and downs, but becoming a grandparent is one of life’s pleasures (so I hear). Never take grandchildren for granted because not everyone gets to have them.

 

As always, enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

Get Thee to a Rock Concert (before all the rockers of our day die!!)

Joy here –

A couple of weekends ago our neighbors and good friends of 25 years
came up to our neck of the woods for a rock concert.  Our friends had
purchased the tickets months ago to see the great Santana with an
opening act by The Doobie Brothers.  (If, by some chance you are a
millennial who has found his or her way onto our Revisionist Retirement
site, don’t worry, way, way before your time!)

Having not been to a concert for a few years, I forgot how much fun
they can be. You instantly regress to your early 20’s with a little
swaying of your hips and a couple of glasses of wine.

On a summer evening in Saratoga Springs, a venue I had never been to before, our
little group and another 25,000 people, mostly looking to be in their
50’s, 60,s, and beyond, got lost in the hypnotic Latin rhythms of the
one and only Carlos Santana.  We knew all the words to the songs of
the 70’s, whether in Espanol or English.  It brought us back to a more
innocent time in our lives, uncomplicated, exploratory, one in which
we had our whole lives before us.  For 2 solid hours Santana played the
music of our youth, and with a nod to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock
(having taken place the weekend before), strangers danced on the grassy
knoll barefoot and lost in time.

 Music has a way of transporting us to a time and place that feels
familiar.  It brings back memories of another era.  Inhibitions melt
away as many of us got up to shake our hips and bop our heads in a way
that feels oh so familiar, but not moves our bodies make on a routine
basis!

With Elton John performing his farewell tour this year, the Stones
doing their 5th (I’ve lost track!) final tour, plus Barbara Streisand and
Queen, the price of a ticket is a magic carpet ride that will leave
you smiling all night and, maybe it will help you to remember the
person you once were (and can still be) when no one’s looking!

So, for all of us of a certain age, don’t be afraid to admit your love
for Barry Manilow or heaven forbid The Bee Gees (just watched a
special on PBS last week of a concert from 1997!)  It was a great time
to be young and I wouldn’t have wanted to come of age in any other
era.

Today’s Takeaway…

– Go buy a ticket to a rock concert.  Take off your shoes and dance, dance, dance.
Nostalgia is good, unless you get stuck in time.

-Allow yourself a ride back there whenever you feel like it, but always live in the
present, not the past.

As always, enjoy the ride
xox Barclay and Joy