Weekend with a three year old…a Grandma’s perspective … No Outlander to be found in this one!

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It was Fathers day weekend and we were at my son’s home celebrating. While my husband and son were bonding on the golf course, I got to spend time with my littlest two granddaughters. The one year-old is almost blonde (her hair is coming in nicely) and has big blue eyes and dimples. I love dimples.  She is toddling everywhere and repeating everything.  She counts to five and loves to be read to. She is a happy pleasant child and a real joy to be around.

And, then…there is the three year-old…I think when they came up with the word contrary they had her in mind.

She isn’t easy. She wants what she wants, but what she wants seems to change by the minute. She is stubborn and defiant.  I say she fibs. Her parents say she flat out lies.  She knows the rules and isn’t afraid to bend them to suit her needs. She can open anything and if it’s quiet you better go find her.  She’s a cute and tiny little thing with a pixie haircut who knows how to roll her eyes, sigh dramatically or place her hands on her hips in anger. In short,…she’s delightful.  Maybe it’s because I’m the Grandma, but I think she is a riot and I  have to struggle not to laugh at the child while she exasperates everyone around her.  I don’t  laugh because I KNOW that would be bad and would just encourage the child to misbehave, but Lord knows it’s tough to hold back that smile when she lies about eating her breakfast in order to make herself eligible for a treat.  Her parents think God made her extra cute on purpose.  You know like how some bugs look like sticks, etc.  It helps her survive.

The tales that child tells!  If imagination and the ability to carry a theme are any indication, I think I might have a budding writer on my hands.  I heard tales of birthday parties, wind storms, bugs, and how her best friend lost her IPod.  She was concerned about my gender and was very pleased to hear I was a girl too!  I heard a very interesting rendition of Mary had a Little Lamb and heard the same chorus from the movie Frozen, conservatively estimating, about 100 times. We played card games with no rules and somehow someone still won or lost and I was expected to act appropriately joyful or dismayed.  She asked if she could go swimming and before we knew it the child was naked and in the water. She put a toad on my chest and told me it had lost its momma and I was now the  toad’s new momma, “cuz hims is just a baby”. She caught fish on her Minnie Mouse fishing pole using hotdogs for bait and may or may not have broken a TV set.  It’s broken, but no one saw what happened. My money is on the girl.

Despite being warned that she has the attention span of a gnat, I decided to take her to see Inside Out at the movie theater.  She put on her frilly tutu and her bedazzled t-shirt and off we went. She was very excited to be attending with her older sister and especially with her sister’s friend.  The 11 year friend didn’t quite know why she was so popular, but she was a good sport about having to be hung on and sat by and generally adored.  We bought popcorn, found our seats with “blankie” the blanket in tow.  She lasted 10 minutes including the previews before she fell asleep. The movie was wonderful and about five minutes toward the end as the audience is learning the little girl in the movie is growing up,  I heard a sleepy little voice beside me say, ” Grammy dis is the best movie eva!” And, looking at her clutching her blankie and staring up at the screen eyes full of wonder, I thought, “yes, …yes it is”.

When you are a mother to a woman everyday is “Woman’s Day”

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ea5036cf997e4289135a3b267473a316 I watched my eldest granddaughter play a high school basketball district tournament game over the weekend. They lost.  After the game, parents and grandparents dutifully waited outside the locker room to show our support.  After what seemed like forever, the girls began to tearfully trickle out and flow into the arms of their loved ones. I anxiously waited to see how my girl was faring.  With a tear-stained face she searched the crowd and found me.  Our eyes locked and she climbed the bleachers into my outstretched arms. She came to me first and I think I know why.

There are very few people in my life that I can say loved me unconditionally. Actually, there is only one. My grandmother. Her face lit up every time she saw me and I somehow knew that she was excited to see me for only one reason…because it was me.  She loved me just because I existed and I was hers. It is my hope that my granddaughters believe the same of me.  The hug I gave my granddaughter was without murmured words of sympathy, encouragement or advice. I just hugged her for as long as I sensed she needed and kissed her neck. As I watched her move on, I suddenly realized my role in the family dynamic had changed. I was the bedrock this family of women was built on.  I was the solid and safe place my granddaughters could reach when they needed to be loved unconditionally. I was my grandmother.

I am the mother of one woman and grandmother to six who are rapidly joining the ranks of womanhood.  I’m okay with the role to which I now find myself relegated. The job is a lot easier than the one my daughter has. Raising women is hard work. They are exposed to so many negative messages. I’ve raised the one I was directly responsible for and I did the best I could with the knowledge I had.  I made a conscious effort to make sure my girl knew her worth apart from a man. I was not raised with this expectation.  It was a different time and my mother raised me the best she could with the knowledge she had. Like my mother before me, I didn’t get it all right, but I didn’t get it all wrong either. I know this because I’m seeing my daughter build on my foundation and pick up the ball where I dropped it.  My progeny are reaping the benefits of the women who have gone before them and tried to do better.

My eldest granddaughter just turned sixteen.  When I look at her I see the fruition of the efforts of the generations of women who have gone before. And, not just in my own family.  She is the product of women who had the courage to break out of gender based roles and women who believed being a strong woman didn’t mean having to act like a man. She is smart, tough, kind, compassionate, competitive, and beautiful. I’m not sure she even knows that there are such things as gender bias or glass ceilings.  She just decides what it is she wants and works hard to get there.  I’m pretty sure when she does find a door that is closed to her for reasons related to her gender, she’ll say, “this is bullshit” and knock harder.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she’ll have the courage to knock the door down! The image from the top of the page is something I found on her Pinterest page.  There are many with similar sentiment.

So, I’m raising the metaphorical glass of wine to toast the women in my life past and present.  And, to my daughter, you are doing great at a tough job. To my granddaughters, I’m proud of the women you’re becoming and if you need a hug…your grandma is here…waiting with open arms.   10989146_818646421505854_5383532363011842312_n