The Grandmother I’ve Become

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This has nothing to do with the grandmother I am.

I’ve been a grandmother for more than twenty-one years.

As evident in this photograph of myself with my daughters and my first grandchild, Michael, I was a young grandmother, just as I had been a young mother.

Not only young, but modern in thought and actions.

When preparing for my first daughter’s arrival, I painted her bassinet bright orange. No mind-numbing pastels for my child!

I was the mother who was also bohemian, defender of good causes, feminist, forward-thinker, hippie, raising children like no others…do you see how young I was??

As a grandmother, I was the woods-walker, snake catcher, story-teller, beach-lover, dune-climber who offered all the wonders of Beaver Island to my grandchildren.

When Mikey was a baby,  I kept chickens. One glorious morning, with baby on my hip, we found our first two eggs in the chicken house. By the time his mother woke up, Michael and I had composed an entire bluesy song about it! When he and Brandon were youngsters, I’d pack a book, fruit and snacks and a thermos in the morning, and we’d go to the beach. I’d read and drink coffee while they built amazing structures in the sand. Madeline, Tommy and Patrick have had their share, too, of exploring the woods and fields and sand dunes.

For evenings, there were other activities. I hold firm to the idea that children like foods they help to make, so mealtime has always been a joint project. Like my own Grandma Florence, I taught them how to play “King’s in the Corner.” As a nod to my father-in-law, Jack, I taught them how to play poker (complete with his wonderful repartee: “pair of deuces…pair of tens…pair – a – goric”). I kept an art case, for entertainment on rainy days, just as my mother always had.

The “grandmother” I’m referring to is the stereotypical grandmother…you know, the one “I would never become.”

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I’m referring to the grandmother who has rows of holy cards (from funerals, no less!) lining a mirror…

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who  has too many little vignettes featuring photos of children and grandchildren…

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and doilies…

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religious icons…

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little collections of succulents…

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and a fat little dog, sleeping wherever she chooses on a loud-patterned piece of furniture (should I say davenport?).

(SIGH)

This, alas, is the grandmother I’ve become.

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15 responses »

  1. Gosh, Cindy, this is such a lovely, and at the same time, fun and entertaining post. But then again, I guess those are both the grandmothers you’ve become. LOVE it, my friend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Kathy, you are so kind! Thanks for reading,and for the sweet comments; thank you for the Mother’s Day wishes; finally, thank you for thinking of my blog being a qualifier for Freshly Pressed! You are much appreciated…thank you!

  2. Oh, Cindy — you are a perfect grandmother! I loved reading this. I don’t even like to think about what I would be missing if I didn’t have access to your wonderful blog. Even though we were in school together for twelve years, all I really could have told people about my friend, Cindy, is that she was very cute, tiny and quiet. Thank you so much for sharing yourself!

  3. This really is a great blog, Cindy. You made me think of the stages we all go through. And now I know there are grandmother stages, too. Perhaps, someday, I’ll get to find out, too.

    • I think of the main character in Stones From the River, saying she would never wear cardigans the way the old people do. By the end of the book, in her old age, she happily accepted the ease and comfort of the cardigan sweater. I think of all the things I was so haughty about and have to laugh at myself for how my standards and tastes have changed. Thanks for reading, Kathy, and for your comments!

  4. Enjoyed reading this Cindy. I don’t know how I missed this when it was first posted. I am not yet a grandfather, but I can relate, when I hear myself say something my father of grand father would say or seeing the reflection of the way I or walk in glass I pass or the way I stand in a photograph.

    • Isn’t it scary, odd, and a bit comforting all at the same time? Other than the wrinkles, I really kind of like the person I’ve become. Thanks for readin, Bob,and for your comment!

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