Saturday, January 15, 2011

to be grandma

It is said you don't know what unconditional love really is until you become a grandparent.  A grandparent looks at this new little life for the first time and it's like God has just handed him or her a piece of his/her heart.  The child of your child brings to a grandparent a feeling that can never be duplicated and a bond that can never be broken.  Some say being a grandparent is God's way of rewarding parents for not strangling their children when they were young. I look forward to enjoying the world through a child's eyes once again.  I heard the love for a grandchild is no deeper yet sometimes is seems purer, probably because it is free from the daily ups and downs of family life. 

According to the National Center of Health Statistics, the average age of a woman becoming a grandmother is 47.  A grandmother has numerous roles in the family dynamics.  I ran across a few sayings describing them, hence, I share. 

A grandmother is someone with silver in her hair and gold in her heart

In the Cookies of Life - grandmothers are the chocolate chips

Grandma's my name, spoiling's my game

When you need a hug call 1-800-Grandma

Grandma serves kisses, counsel and cookies daily

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting

Grandma always makes you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete

If your baby is beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time, you're the grandma.

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful; one minute you're just a mother, the next you are all-wise and prehistoric

Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple; grandmas are short on criticism and long on love

My name is NO NO but Grandma calls me precious!

Perfect love sometimes does not come till the first grandchild ~ Welsh proverb

One of my favorite grandmother wisdom stories captures a timeless truth.  The story of two wolves originally came from a traditional, Native American woman.  Women have passed such stories on orally from woman to woman and generation to generation.  This story is of a young boy who went to his grandmother fighting back tears and moaning that other kids laughed at him at school. His grandmother said softly:
"There have been times when I have felt anger, too, at others who were unkind and I have felt angry at myself for feeling small and helpless.  And I have even felt hate for those who felt no sorow for the hurt they cause.  But hate wears you down, Grandson, and it does not hurt your enemy.  I have struggled with these feelings many times.  It is as if there are two wolves living inside me; one is white and one is grey.  The white wolf is good and does no harm, living in harmony with all, and does not take offense when no offense was intended.  White wolf will only fight when it is right to do so and in the right way.  But grey wolf is full of anger.  The littlest thing will cause a fit of temper.  Grey wolf fights everyone all the time...for no reason...not thinking because this anger and hate are so great.  It is helpless anger and will change nothing.  Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside of me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit." 
The boy was listening very carefully.  He asked, "Which one wins, Grandmother?"  Grandmother smiled gently and said, "The one I feed."
In this traditional story, "Grandmother" connects to her grandson, his struggle and his feelings of anger by passing on her wisdom through the vivid images of the two wolves.  This marvelously imaginative story strikes us all with its truth.  It conveys knowledge and understanding, and as a story, it will impact the grandson more than a lecture.  It is a demonstration rather than a rule.  Grandmothers listen and demonstrate values and commitments by showing grandkids what is acceptable or uncomfortable.  They connect emotionally by listening to their feelings, needs, beliefs and emotions without judging or trying to fix their problems.  Making time and space in our lives for grandkids tells them they are valued.  We can teach them about humanity by showing them our strengths as well as our vulnerabilities.

There are many nicknames given for grandparents.  I found quite a few that tickle my fancy for grandmother, but when it comes down to it, I feel the baby will decide my nickname.  In the meantime, my favorite is the Cherokee Nana since I have a bit of the Native American spirit in my blood. Tutu is cute, too!
Grandmother, Grandma, Gramma, Grandmom, Gramzie, Granmama, Granny, Ga Ga, Babcia (Polish), Nonna (Italian), Lola (Filipino), Mawmaw (Cajun), Mammo, Nini, Ninna, Nanoo, Nee Nee and Tutu (Hawaiian)

The testaments about being a grandmother fill my heart with warm fuzzies and I agree that no one knows how it feels to be a grandma until you become one.  I only know how much I cherish the memories of my own grandmothers, especially my Nanny.  I listen to my sons' recollections of the times with their Gramzie and Granmama and sometimes it jolts me how much of an impact they really had on their lives.  The best gift they ever gave my sons was their time.  Of all the cute quotations I perused, this one by Edward H. Dreschnack hit home the most for me personally:
Just about the time a woman thinks her work is done,
she becomes a grandmother. xo