My granny was perpetually late. If she said she was leaving for our house (a two hour drive) at eight o’clock? Plan on her around noon. In fact, when I was little, I got in the habit of waiting for her on our front porch. She would call and say that she was on her way, and I’d impatiently annoy my own mom for about an hour, and then it was time. In the heat of the day, I’d gather every stuffed animal, baby doll, and treasured trinket I owned and haul all of it to the porch, where I would camp out until she would arrive. I would wait excitedly for about thirty minutes, and then grow worried, and then frustrated. Usually, by the time the dust started kicking up on our gravel road signaling her impending arrival, I would have decided that I just wasn’t even going to act excited to see her. Stoic – that’s what I’d do, and I’d do it with all the determination a six-year-old could muster.
I usually lasted about two minutes in that farce, and then would give in to the joy that was spending time with one of my favorite ladies. We did nails, hair, and make-up. We watched the shopping channel late at night and stayed up giggling long past my mom’s stern rumblings of “you two go to sleep!” I distinctly remember some of my most heartbroken moments being those when we would say goodbye and wave her off into the sunset.
When I became a new mama, it was even more fun for me to spend time with my granny. I can’t think of anyone who was more of a baby hog than that sweet lady – if there was a baby to be held, you better believe the little bundle would be found snuggled in her arms, all hours of the day. I called her just last year for her home-made cocoa recipe during a snow day with my kids – toast and cocoa was one of her staple treats, and my kids love it just as much as I did.
Grandparents Day is a little bittersweet for me this year. While it’s not a holiday that I can say we celebrated beyond a quick phone call and shared expressions of “I love you!” – we had a rich and beautiful relationship. Granny Doni passed away this April, and to say that we all miss her seems so inadequate.
So, while I’m busy reminiscing with my own children about their great-grandma, I’m reminded again that it is one of my many jobs as a mother to help foster the same kind of relationships for my kids … the depth of a connection that contains memories from the very first remembered – memories collected similar to those I have from my own childhood. The kind of recollections where I am the fun killer and their grandma or grandpa is their partner-in-crime. While it likely won’t be toast and cocoa or QVC at midnight, I want to give them space to create their own traditions with their grandparents. This isn’t always easy for me! It’s often on the tip of my tongue to mention sugar content or screen time limits, bed times or nitpicky rules – and then I remember. I remember my mom, probably biting her tongue until it bled and watching her kids revel in her own mother’s attention … and how very exceptional the outcome was.
So if you or your kiddos are lucky enough to have a grandparent to celebrate tomorrow (and everyday!), enjoy it! Maybe even consider giving a bit of space to let a little magic develop … I know from experience that your children will thank you for it.