Someone I know lost her grandmother and on her Facebook, she wrote these lovely words about her: “today I lifted a prayer to you and grandpa not knowing of your passing.” What a lovely thing she did every morning to her grandmother. I never had any grandparents; they were all gone when I was born. In fact, I was named after my mom’s mom. I was told she was a very stylish dresser even though they were quite poor. She was a widow at forty-eight and had seven children. Two were born blind and one became deaf after a wrong diagnosis of his illness. Still she was able to raise them by running a little grocery store right where they lived. I do not know if they lived behind or above the store as was the custom in those days or nearby. They even had a beautiful dog named Pal.
I was told she would clean her house wearing high heeled shoes and a girdle on to make her look slimmer. She loved her seven children and I am sorry I had not the chance to meet her, love her or know her. I do not know if my brother knew her, since he was five years older than me. We never discussed it. I am sorry about that too. He did have my father’s mom alive during a few years of his life.
As I said in a former article, my dad had two sisters who had no children, so they thought of me as their little ‘granddaughter’ and I pretended they were my two grandmoms. They loved me a lot and always gave me little satin pouches they sewed for me by hand, no sewing machines then for them. In the pouches, they would put some pennies when they could spare it, because they were quite poor at that time. They cooked, kept their little apartment clean and kind of stylish. They had lots of ornaments like coffee cups that were fancy, big and cute plates that were fluted in shape. They had big and small bowls where they put fresh fruit in and they always set the table for a meal with a table cloth. The two sisters lived together in a small place and that was to save money. One was a widow and the other one never married. I loved them.
My mom when she became a grandmother in 1954 was only forty-seven years old and I became a first time aunt at age twenty. Mom became a great grandmother at age seventy-four and I became a great aunty at age forty-seven and then three years ago, I became a great, great aunty at age seventy-five. I find it quite a distinction to be a great, great aunty to a little boy three years ago and to his sister nine weeks ago. These statistics are sweet and personal to me.
So my grandmother Eta lived to be only forty-eight and mom at forty seven became a grandmother. I am calculating and it seems that Eta became a grandmother at probably age forty-two because I had a brother five years older than me and she had some young grandchildren before him. This is interesting data from a great difference in health studies, in longevity numbers and on a personal note to me. I know of some ladies who became first time mothers at age forty. The health industry has changed so much and since we are hopefully living to longer ages, there will be more great grandparents, great, great aunts and uncles and possibly even some great, great grandparents and perhaps even more, depending on when the children marry and have children of their own.
In my grandmother’s time, this was not even a dream of theirs. They lived day to day, week to week and did what they had to in order to feed their families and live decently. The children all married and had children of their own and the legacy continued on. Each child had children and if Grandma Eta had lived, she would have had ten grandchildren, sixteen great grandchildren and that was it.I did not know her, but I know she would have been so proud of all of the offspring.
A grandmother loves her grandchildren in a special and different way than she loved her own kids. It is a unique feeling to see your child have his or her own kids. There is the saying that states “you love them all day you may take care of them, then you send them home and no more worries.” I had a neighbor who told me about taking care of her two grandsons one day. I did not have any of my own then. She said “I cannot wait for Susan to come and get them, it was fun, and I am so tired at this age.”
When they are small and one day, they look up at you and say “I love your grammie” this is sweet and lovely music to your ears. I have a friend whose only grandchildren live in New Zealand. He gets to see them once a year, because the trip is a real long one. He sees them on Skype screens and that is the best he can attain. Another lady I know. sees her granddaughter once or sometimes twice a year, because they live in California.
So gather your grandchildren if you have them, love them no matter where they reside and know you are pretty fortunate to have them. My grandmother Eta lived to have and to know from her seven kids, about five of them, that was her joy and because she died at about forty-eight, she never knew me and a few younger ones after me.
I am named in honor of her and I know it would have been reverent to know her and to have had at least one grandmother. If you have a grandparent, do as I quote at the top of this article “lift a prayer to her or him” as often as you can. You, if a grandparent are lucky that they are around you. They are blessed and fortunate to have you. Lift a prayer to them too for a wonderful and healthy life.