Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ada Just Left: I'm Thinking about How We Love Our Grandmothers

Okay - Ada and Laura Beth just left.

I helped Laura Beth get her stuff in the car. Ada of course walked out with us while we both carried the majority of the load. She played around while we organized the small amount of luggage and a few other things LB had to take. As Laura Beth went back in to get some clothes still drying - she asked me to please go ahead and buckle Ada in.

I had been observing how LB had to organize all of her traveling gear. Arranging Ada's own stash of books which she could reach from her car seat. Then - organizing her own things to hand Ada AFTER she had tossed the books on the floor of the car. Laura Beth had books to hand her, favored stuffed animals(cow, melmo, doggie, and maybe one other) and even kept the blankie and paapaa next to her until really needed by Ada. There's the juice cup, snack food. - all of that in position for traveling and handing back.

When my children were small - like Ann - my first one and on through Sarah - the laws didn't restrict children to the backseat - so if I was traveling with a small baby by myself, the carseat was up front and I could hand anything over to her. I can't remember much about Kate being up front and I remember more about her being in the back - so I'm wondering if the laws had changed or if by then, Ann was old enough that I used her in the back to hand Kate her toys and books.

Ann and Laura Beth both say they remember travelling with that carseat between them and leaning on it. So I'm guessing I used them both with Kate. Ann was 7 and Laura Beth was
5-1/2 when Kate was born. Sarah was 2 - so someone probably was helping Sarah. I guess Laura Beth probably helped with Sarah. I don't know. I was travelling with 4 girls and it could get very interesting. I made trips to Evergreen in those days. Some with Charlie and some without Charlie.

OKAY - I've chased a rabbit now and have gone down an avenue I didn't intend.

I just meant to say I remember all that organizing required to travel with a baby or toddler.

So - I buckled Ada in and began to read to her and talk to her while we waited for Laura Beth - I guess she didn't realize she was leaving without me - Ada, I mean. She pretty much lost it when I hugged her goodbye - and we thought she'd calm down but it was a major meltdown - of course this grandmother who is called "NEAR", loves being loved by her grandchildren. I LOVE IT - but I don't want her crying like that - I don't want her unhappy - I mean. I suggested this - not out of ego - but to help - "Ada, would you like to find a picture of Near to take with you?" Through big tears she nodded in the affirmative and said "Uh-Huh". So, in we go, LB and myself chuckling at the idea of us trying to find a good picture of me. I was carrying Ada. I knew of a recent stash of pictures - but there just aren't any of me - #1 - I hate pictures of myself these days - awful! #2 - I'm always the one taking the pictures.(not of myself - but of other people) What we did find were pictures, extras, of her cousins, of Charlie, of Ada, too - so she was happy to have her little stack to look at on the trip and she agreed in a rather melancholy way - to get back in the carseat. We really played up the thing about seeing her Daddy and we'd say, "DADDEEEE,WHERE ARE YOU?" LB and I kept saying that - and we'd go ,"YAY - WE'RE GOING TO SEE DADDY!!". She needed one more hug from me and a kiss smack kadab on the mouth and her PaaPaa and Blankie. She was good to go with her stash of pictures as well.

Who doesn't love being LOVED like that?? It's the best thing there is in the whole world - It's different than the parent child love - which is right there parallel with the grandparent love - but it's different - because there is forever this tension in the parent/child relationship - On the one hand - the child desperately needing the parent within reach - on the other hand - the child fighting for independence from the parent. It's all that authority that ultimately comes from Mom and Dad. It's a softer, not so desperate love between grandparents(and in my case I'll just refer to grandmother) - not the fight paired with the clinging - not the tension - I don't know - I've tried to figure it out -

What is it about Grandmothers and Granddaddies and all the names they are called. I never would have imagined that I'd be called NEAR? I have now had countless numbers of conversations with people about how they came to be called what they are called by their grandchildren. And it is usually the eldest grandchild that names the name. Ellie did that and Luke picked it up. I think if Luke hadn't been so close in age - Ellie would have switched to Grandmother. She tried to when she could pronounce it - but Luke was saying Near so often she couldn't make the switch. Now Ada says it and it's a done deal and we all say Near.

How did Ellie come up with Near? Well - at the earliest stage it was more of the N sound. and it evolved into Near. When she could enunciate with help we had her say Grand and it was the N - and we had her say Mother and it was the 'ear. So that's it. N from Grand and ear from Mother.

Right now Ada calls Kate - Cake. She calls Sarah - Sayah. And she calls Charlie - Charchie. It's all so cute.

Ellie started everyone saying Charlie - I was in Albuquerque when she was old enough to learn names and everytime I'd talk with Charlie on the phone she'd hear me say his name. She's been calling him Charlie ever since. Luke began saying Chareee or Charwee. He might can say the L now but not so good. His L's often sound like W's.

So - Grandmothers and Granddaddies.


My maternal grandmother was "Ella".
My paternal grandmother was "Grandmother".

I have very fond memories of visiting my Grandmother and Granddaddy in Troy - but they were very old - at least 78 or even maybe 80 when I was born. That's old for having an infant granddaughter. I was the youngest grandchild in Daddy's family. Daddy was the youngest son and he was 38 when I was born - anyway - I treasure my memories of them - but unfortunately it wasn't the same relationship I had with Ella and Elbert.

As our oldest cousin wrote in a small letter, read at a family reunion - he was addressing the members of the family who had already passed away - and he said, "Ella, you were the grandmother stories are written about".
That is so true - and I'm guessing that more people than less could say that about his or her own grandmother.
It's a unique mystery - families and the bond in those different relationships - it's a gift and a treasure not to be squandered. Grandmothers get tired, too, and selfish and self-centered. But if we play our cards right, those precious grandchildren never suspect it. Ella always made me feel as if I was her only grandchild. I have heard everyone else's account and they tell their tales as if they, too, were the only grandchild. That is a legacy that is rich indeed. I have written this before, but I'll say it again - it's amazing - My mother's grandmother, "Granny", died 2-1/2 years before I was born - but it's as if I knew her and loved her. There have been so many stories - her name used so often through the years since she died - that I almost forget that I never really met her.
Grandmothers - what a privilege to be one.
Mothers - what a privilege to be one.
Whatever we are - Aunt, Sister, Daddy, Granddaddy, Brother, Cousin, Friend - all a gift and a unique role.
But today I'm thinking about Grandmothers and that powerful connection God created.
I'm grateful, very very grateful, to be in that place.

No comments: