The grandmother needs her grandmother
I was born into a state of confusion, mixed messages and conditional love. As a child, I aimed to please. Simple math and a childlike deduction theory meant that attention and affirmation could be gained by "being good." But the one plus one mentality rarely added up. There were too many negatives and I often felt emotionally hurt and made to feel unworthy of acclaim. However, there was one woman who understood the confliction of my upbringing and offered moments of wisdom, solace and just plain calm. Unlike the continuous flow of loud voices within my household, she was often silent and more than likely to answer in three or so words. I remember asking her how to deal with a rather difficult situation and she said, "have faith." This seemingly easy, but actually complex solution to my query should have been expected because faith was her answer for all challenges. Christianity oozed from every pore in her body and every aspect of her being. She loved everyone, questioned nothing, was loyal to a fault and faced adversity like it was a long lost friend. She was unflappable, the mother of eleven, grandmother of over seventy, fatherless as a young child, poor by most financail measures, and never had idle hands. She helped all that asked and many who never knew where the aide came from. When she finally touched the face of God that she humbly served for 100 years, I gave her eulogy. I boasted of the time that I was able to share with her. At fifty-five, I was her first grandchild and now the grandmother of three. It would be only nine months later when I would begin raising "S". Nothing would have made her more proud, for she also raised a granddaughter. It would have been laughable to her if I ever used the word challenging to describe this experience or told her of my continual worries about my role as a grandmother. Grandparenting was as natural as breathing to her. You loved the child unconditionally, you took one day at a time, and you served as the cheerleader and not the yell squad. A clean house was not necessary, gray hair was never dyed, added weight not discussed, and money a non-issue. If she worried, only God knew. Today I miss her more than I could imagine. Almost everything she stood for is lacking in my own journey as a parent of parents. My view of the future is riddled with worry and I am caught up in the motion of daily trivial apprehension. I realize that I am now the grandmother who others are turning to for common sense and wisdom, but I feel like the young girl that needs the advice of her grandmother, "Have faith!"
Garden Ridge, Texas