Please Call Me Grandma Sylvia Collins
Many years ago I got a new name. My new name was Mom. I was thrilled, honoured, proud, tired, and so in love. It was the beginning of the best journey of my life. When I first saw you, my child, my heart overflowed with love. My mind overflowed with dreams, wishes, and goals. Those dreams and wishes and goals were for me just as much as they were for you.
I wanted to set a good example. I wanted to provide for you. I wanted to nurture you, support you, encourage you, parent you, guide you, play with you, and watch you grow. I wanted to teach you to ride your bike, skip a rope, knit, play hopscotch, skate, and build a snowman. I wanted you to find your passion and get good at it. I wanted to help you do really well at school, and balance that with finding out about yourself, and your interests and passions. I wanted you to graduate to high school, learn to drive, graduate from high school, then college, and have a life filled with things that would fill your heart.
Somewhere along the line busy got in the way of so many of my dreams and wishes, and goals. I was busy doing laundry, doing the dishes, paying the bills, going to work, getting the groceries, taking you to all your after school activities, and making meals. I was busy wishing for you to be more independent, to pick up after yourself more efficiently, to be able to make your own snacks, and do your own laundry. What I didn’t do was take the time to appreciate how well you were doing just at that moment. What I didn’t do was do all those things WITH you so that we could chat, and I could listen, and we could hang out. What I didn’t do was let you take all of those stages at your own pace, and in your own time. What I didn’t do was set a good example of patience, calm, and taking your time. While I was busy wishing for you to hurry up, I was missing all the things that I thought I was looking forward to. They were passing me by in my life of busy-ness and lots to do.
Recently I have gotten a new name. My new name is Grandma’ That is the name that I really wanted when I knew I could pick a new name. I was so thrilled, honoured, and proud. It was going to be the next best thing in my life. My heart overflowed with love. My mind overflowed with dreams, wishes, and goals. Those dreams were just as much for me as they were for you and your new little friend.
I hoped I had set a good example. I hoped I had provided enough love for you so that you could pass some of it on. I hoped that you had seen a good example of patience and encouragement, and nurturing in order that you could also provide that for your new little bundle. I hoped that when you looked back at the times that I was too busy, or that I was rushing you, or that I didn’t notice that you were working on a new stage that was important to you, that you would be reminded to slow down, appreciate each moment, and not rush the process.
What I see is someone who is doing laundry, doing the dishes, paying the bills, going to work, getting the groceries, making meals, putting clothes away, tidying up the toys, and running errands. What I see is someone who is rushed and busy, and not able to take the time to appreciate how well your little friend is doing just at this very moment. What I see is someone who is too busy to just do all those things with her new little friend, and chat, and listen, and hang out. What I see is someone that is missing the stages and not able to let them happen at their own pace, and in their own time. While you are wishing for your new little one to hurry up, you are missing all the things that you were looking forward to. They are passing you by in your life of busy-ness and lots to do.
What I have learned is that maybe this is where Grandma’s come in. We are not slow because we are old. We are not patient because we have any more hours in our day. We are not calmer because we don’t have laundry, dishes, bills, work, groceries, meals, clothes to put away, toys to tidy, errands to run… We are slow, patient, and calmer because we don’t want to miss what the little people are doing right this moment. We don’t want to push them to hurry up, we want them to enjoy this moment, this lesson, this stage. We want to sit and do this WITH them so we can chat, and listen, and hang out. The time will come when we are old, slow, forgetful and have a lot of time to do things. We will look around and there will be a whole bunch of busy, young people filling their lives. Life will have passed us by. Our hearts will be full: of regret, missed lessons, missed opportunities, and missed lives. Our heads will be full of old dreams too old to be clear and vibrant, old wishes too old to fill now, old goals long since fallen short. Or, we will look around at our legacy. We will look around and see our children full of love, and dreams, and goals. We will see their children full of life, ambition, direction, and passion, and if we are REALLY lucky we will even see some of their children.
So, please, when you are feeling overwhelmed by your list, when you are tired from your day, when you are feeling like you just can’t do this on your own, would you please call Grandma. That is her job. That is why Grandmas are special. That is why I wanted that name, and not some fancy new-age replacement for Grandma.