Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grandmotherhood! Wow!

     I have never written on this blog about the state of Grandmotherhood. And yet that state is responsible for huge positives in many women's lives.
     I make tear sheets from newspapers and magazines of various articles or photos that interest me. As an aside, of course, these tear sheets are not organized in any meaningful way so they are not very useful to me because I forget what I have torn out and could never find any individual tear sheet even if I remembered I had saved it. Recently I have been trying to remedy that situation, going through the stacks and organizing. I found this story about a grandmother who through misunderstaanding, divorce and remarriage of her son had lost track of  her 9 year old grandson. She had kept a room for him in her apartment; she set a place setting for him at her supper table on each major holiday and his birthday, dates when he might have been present. She bought and wrapped Christmas presents for him each year and after a few years culled these gifts and gave them to charity. She wrote him letters and saved them. Now some of you readers might think that this woman is not quite right in the head. Yet she was a productive member of society and being retired volunteered at a local nursing home. She set up a system at this nursing home that she and the residents would receive bags of the local letters to Santa Claus, go through them and answer them. They were instructed to make the answers personal but to not promise any specific gift, just that Santa would visit Christmas Eve. Sitting around the table in the home, one woman read a letter that touched her: "What I really want for Christmas is a Grandmother," wrote the 9 year old Matthew. When the volunteer lady heard that name and then asked for the last name, she realized this was her grandson. She volunteered to answer the letter, and got a letter back from the little boy. To make a short story shorter, through a sequence of letters back and forth, and finally a box of memorabilia dropped off at the grandson's home, past misunderstandings were forgotten. The son and the grandson appeared unexpectedly at her door on Christmas Eve where indeed she had place settings set for them.
     A heartwarming tale! But I can totally identify with this woman. I can't imagine being cut off from my two little guys. Since I was sick the weekend before Christmas, we had rescheduled our exchange of gifts and Christmas visit to New Years weekend. We had not seen our grandsons for 2 1/2 months. Now that is a long time to not see a 1 year old. He had changed so much. Yes, he is walking and he has a words like Hi and Mama which seem to appear appropriately. But the most remarkable to me was the change in interpersonal skills. The little guy engages you with a beautific smile even while shakily toddling across the space between two pieces of furniture. Then he turns his head away shyly only to reengage again with this flirty little shy smile. I remember when his older brother at about this age or perhaps slightly older could work a room. Well, this little guy is already "working the room" at just a year old. Then there is the older one's attempt to parent. He cares deeply about his little brother and knows his abilities and his inabilities. He then pontificates to Will on the reasons for little Will's various mishaps. These interactions are just precious. I am trying to store these away in my memory and in my writings so that I will always be able to view them.
     Of course, there are some tiny negatives to a visit with the grandchildren. Both had colds and so did my daughter in law, so of course, Grandma came home and immediately got a sore throat and cough. This happens almost every time I visit even though I use the antibacterial stuff on my hands and wash my hands repeatedly. I think my immune system is such that I have no resistance, and I know that those little ones concentrate the germs and really give you a very large inoculum when you interact with them. Oh well, I already feel better this morning, and this too shall pass. It is worth it to see those precious little grandsons.
     Now that the Holidays have passed, and we are settled into the normalcy of winter in the Midwest, I can get back to writing these posts more regularly. I plan soon a series of posts on the Southeast Asian trip, since I have only wet your appetite so far, and have not posted any photos from that November trip. That will be next.

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