At first I didn’t really think a whole lot about being a grandma. I know that sounds sad. But I think the reason is that I never really had a grandmother. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s.
There isn’t a time I remember her in her right mind. But she was always pleasant. There was always a smile on her face–always.
For fear of hurting her grandchildren’s feelings, by not remembering their names, she would just pat us on the back as we walked by and say, “That’s my girl,” or “That’s my boy.”
It wasn’t until I had my own grandchildren, that I began to feel robbed. Not only of the grandma I never knew, but of a role model.
Then there was my own mother. I’m not sure she really knew how to be a grandmother either. Looking back at her time with my own children, there wasn’t really much quality there. That’s not to say she didn’t love them. There’s no doubt of that. But again, I have to wonder if she had a role model.
“Shortly after my first granddaughter was born, I came across the black-and-white photograph of my other grandmother, Vera Monnier. She’s tall with her hair in a bun, and looks Germanic and stolid, which is odd, as my father had painted a much different picture of a flirty, wild, smart Vera.
She was my father’s mother. I never met her. Her heart stopped at 27, gone way too young. For the first time, staring at the photo, I felt something shift within me. That is my grandmother. She and I had the same connection to each other that Ryan and I do.
Yet I will never even know what she looks like in color.”
When you become a grandmother, you suddenly realize what you lost in the absence one of your own.
However, since that void feels so deep, perhaps it can serve as a guide for who I want to be as a grandmother. Have you thought about how you want your grandchildren to remember you? I have. I think about it alot actually.
Although my grandmother never knew my name, I remember her fondly. Her peaceful smile is etched in my mind. I would like to be remembered that well.
Also, the way my grandfather treated her is, in many ways, a role model in itself. I never heard him lose his temper with her–ever. He would answer the same question over and over. Each time it was just as calm as if it were the first time she asked him.
Whether you remember your grandmother, as a wonderful woman that enriched your life, or lament not having one. Either way, becoming a grandmother puts a spotlight on just how much she impacts the lives of her grandchildren.