My Mother was a teacher and an inspiring mentor to me as I followed in her footsteps. She taught me many valuable lessons which I still use. She passed recently after struggling for years with Alzheimer’s, and I miss all of her – healthy Mom and Alzheimer Mom. No matter what was going on in her life, I learned as I watched her navigate life.
I find myself thinking about what it must have been like for her with 14 Grandchildren. I have four now. Three girls and the eldest is a boy. They are delightful and I could sit and watch them play for hours. I love their childhood innocence and delight in the world. I NEVER though I would be an intrusive bossy Grandparent – yet at times I have found myself just that. AND then I have to sit back and realize that parenting styles are unique – children are unique – and the interactions we have as humans are complicated and layered. I am a product of the billions of interaction with all others with my parental interactions being the most impactful. AS I age, I understand more and more how much we are all a product of our upbringing and in some ways I feel like I have never grown up. I still look for the soft look that only a parent can give – that place of unconditional love that only a parent can understand and impart.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is the importance of being there. Being present. It’s not so much about what I do when I am with my Grandchildren – although we like to have fun baking, singing, dancing, and going places – but it’s about the quality of the interaction each time I am with them. I have a chance to impart something magical and loving each time we gather together. What a gift that is. As a parent it can be difficult to understand the magnitude of your influence upon your children – yet there it is – inherent in your connection and never gone – I still feel that strong influence of my Mother -now in my new role as a Grandmother. I know that my Mother will be with me until the day I die.
I believe that Parenting done well is the most difficult job on Earth. But the good news is as long as you and your child are alive, each day is a new day to try and get it right. And once you are dead, your child will carry you with them, so be in it well and be in it for the long haul. Because like it or not….it’s forever.