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