Okay, I admit it. I am a grandma, and I am loving the role. I was warned this would happen, but I didn’t completely believe it. This is not saying I was not excited for Kelly and Mark to become parents. Not at all! I still remember the longing I had to be a mom and the thrill each time I looked into each tiny set of eyes for the first time.
It’s just that the memories of my two grandmas were of old gray-haired women with sagging skin. I loved both of them, but neither was ever young to me. But I have the birthdays so I know their ages. My Carey grandma was only sixty when I was born and my Russian grandma—Baba—was sixty-eight. Did they both seem so old because when you are very little, anyone older than twenty-five is ancient? Will all my grandchildren remember Dad and I as dinosaurs, or will they have any recollections of us as young and energetic (sort of) and fun to be with?
What makes it so enjoyable is the renewal of the profound love that I had (still have) when you were all so young, innocent, and totally dependent on us for everything. It was the excitement and joy that you all had for the smallest discovery because everything was new, that I am now seeing again. “Look, Grandma, a butterfly”, or “Look, Grandma, the clouds are moving!” You did that to me many years ago.
What I love, love, love is when our little guy sees me and says, “I’m so happy to see you, Grandma,” and then tightly wraps those tiny arms around my neck.
Today, when I put some lettuce in his hand, and he fearlessly held it up so a giraffe could grab it from his little hand with its slimy, two foot long tongue (I couldn’t even do it), he giggled with delight and said, “Again.” There was a sparkle of wonder in his eyes that you all had when you were his age.
I thought back to last week when Dad and I took him to the park, and as we were returning home he said to us, “I had a nice day. It was fun.” He appreciated our little outing and somehow knew to tell us. It made us feel so good, particularly knowing that a two-year-old child does not lie yet.
This makes me wonder if my grandmother knew how much I appreciated her. Did I ever tell her? When she asked me to stay with her because she was lonely, and I got my own room at her house (a big deal since I was sharing my own bedroom at our house next door with my two sisters), did I ever tell her how much I loved staying there. Every morning before I left for school, she cooked me breakfast—scrambled eggs, toast, and tea. The eggs were runny, but I loved them and no one ever made me eggs like that. Did she know how I felt?
I know all of you gave Grandma those tight hugs and drippy kisses while you were little, and I am certain she knew how much you all loved her. But there is not an expiration of date on the feeling of happiness when someone tells us we are appreciated. Sometimes, we don’t say those words of thanks to those we love. We may say we love them, but expressing the gratitude is important, too.
So go to the store and pick up a card, and then sit down and write her a note inside with a memory and words of thanks for being the amazing grandma that she is to you. And then she will have that card to read and make her feel happy again and again.