Thursday, April 26, 2007

Grandparents



I love this picture. In spite of the fact that this little one is holding a hot coal. Children in the villages routinely worked with fire at a young age, because it was the center of the home and a way of life. So while this scene probably would not be playing out in the states, at least not without government agencies investigating afterward, it is one that I love to look at. Grandparents are part of everyday life here. We see them caring for their grandkids, teaching them, holding them...just like in the states. And the grandchildren honor their grandparents. This little boy in the photo is performing an act of service for his grandfather.

Grandparents are a huge part of a family's identity. I love hearing stories about my grandparents. My mom's aunt would tell about her mother not wanting to go home when she was little, and would dig her feet into the sand to keep from moving in that direction. Sounds a bit like me. :) My dad's dad was a mean little man (5' 4") walking around ready for a fight, until he got saved and his life did a 180. He also hated to have anything between his toes. It was a little factoid his boys would take advantage of when he was sleeping.

Hearing our family's stories give us a sense of history and rootedness. It also links our kids to the past, and causes them to realize that things are not just about them.

We are enjoying filling our kids with stories from our past, from our parent's and even our grandparent's past. My daughter knows why the Sears catalogue was so important in my dad's day. She also likes to hear how her Mamaboo and PapaDon met. Her namesake, Mimi, is a wellspring of stories. My sons enjoy stories from their Grandpa's firefighting days, and had a wonderful time visiting his firehouse, seeing their great-grandfather's name listed in the log book from the 1950's. Knowing their drawing and artistic abilities are probably linked to Gramma, or that special connection with PapaDon being the one to baptize them...all of this allows our children to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It is a training ground for bigger things. Grandparents are important. Your turn:

What do your grandparents mean to you? How did you connect with them?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Stacy, your blogs are so tender and sweet. Brings tears to my eyes almost every day. You are very precious, you know. And loved very, very much! (AND missed!!!)

Mom

Craver Vii said...

What a great topic! I posted on this a year ago. It was post #5, and I only got one comment, but grandparents are special people! I am passionate about making sure that older people are not robbed of the dignity they deserve. I do feel that their age alone is reason enough to give them special honor.

Grandma (abuela) always had hard candy in a drawer for the kids when we visited. She was a deeply religious woman who resembled a sort of Puerto Rican Yoda. :-)

Dad’s dad (abuelo) had a smile in his eyes and a sense of humor that I appreciated more and more as I got older. I have always felt a special connection with my abuelo, because he, my dad and I share the same name.

Carmi said...

I became a writer because of the influence of my maternal grandfather. His creativity, drive, and curiousness about the world around him have shaped my soul and driven me to view the world in contrarian, unique ways.

He died when I was 13, but I cherish the time I had with him, and wish he could somehow know how deeply he influenced the trajectory of my life.

Stacy said...

Mom -- I miss you, too! :) We need to Skype or something. It's been too long since the last phone call!

Craver -- I love the names of grandparents. In our house, my nephew (the first grandbaby) determined what my parents would be called. It just stuck. Here in Taiwan, it's determined by which side of the family you are talking about. Mom's parents are called on thing, father's parents another. But hearing a little one say "NaiNai or Yeye" is just too cute.

Carmi -- Did you know immediately that your grandfather influenced you, or is it something you've discovered? I think I've come to discover my grandparent's influence, but I envy those who knew right away. One of my sons is very influenced by his grandfather and plans to be a firefighter like him. They are peas in a pod. :) Funny how that works!

Anonymous said...

What a great topic - Grandparents. Your story moved me to reflect on my own Grandfather's and Grandmother's lives. Many times they are treasures that we discover only when it is too late.

I think I will go give them a call.

I really enjoy your blog!

Susan Roster

Anonymous said...

Your post certainly makes one pause and take stock of where they have come from.

Although I was very young when my grandparents passed on, I still have clear memories of the times I did spend with them. Great times though I wish I had more. I am looking to the future when, I myself, am a grandparent.

Thank you for the thoughtful post.

Teri

Anonymous said...

Well put.

Charity Singleton said...

My maternal grandmother lived with us for most of my early childhood. She had only one arm (she lost the other in a car accident when she was young), and I often had to be her other arm for her. I would paint her nails, fix her hair, and help her with cross word puzzles. We also played cards and read stories. She died when I was 13, and I often imagine her response to different aspects of my life now.

This was a beautiful post, Stacy.