Blogger Lisa Carpenter (left) with her mother, daughter, and grandsons
I’m a relatively new grandma, on the job for just over four years. Though a novice, it took me no time at all to consider myself THE grandma in my family—the family matriarch.
In my self-centered state, mentions of grandparenting led me to consider only my grandma experience, my state of affairs, my revered status. I’d mull the myriad ways my daughter might encourage my young grandsons to remember me, the grandma, much to my delight.
Thing is, I rarely considered making that very same daughter of mine remember and honor her grandmother, my mother—a still vibrant member of our family, who is just as deserving of honor, glory, and recognition as I am. Or her paternal grandmother, still living, still equally deserving.
I want my daughter to be a good role model and encourage her children to respect and honor their grandparents. Yet, despite long thinking I’m an exemplary do-as-I-do kind of mother (versus the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do variety), I realized I rarely model that specific behavior to my daughter. Or to my other daughters, for that matter.
My daughters are grown. I’m still their parent, though, and a vital tenet of good parenting still stands: Model the behavior you hope to encourage in your children. Somehow that wisdom left my nest right along with my daughters. It’s time this grandma reclaims that wisdom and gets back on track. Time to purposefully remember and honor the real matriarchs of our family—the grandmothers to my daughters, my mother and mother-in-law.
You won’t catch me encouraging my daughters to sit down with crayons and paper to draw pictures for either grandma’s refrigerator. Or demand they write Thank You notes for gifts received and make regular phone calls to keep Grandma in the loop. My daughters are adults, and such things are their responsibility. As their mother, though, it’s my responsibility even now that they are adults, to at least (tactfully) ask if they’ve remembered birthdays, acknowledged gifts received, touched base with those grand mothers now and then.
Such things matter. Especially to grandmothers.
I delight in the times my daughter encourages such gifts—tangible and otherwise—from my grandsons to me. I’ll be equally delighted when my other two daughters do the same with grandchildren they may eventually provide. Tokens of love from my young and oh-so-adorable grandchildren never fail to warm this grandma’s heart.
Similar sentiments from equally adorable yet now adult grandchildren—yes, I mean my daughters—surely would warm the hearts of the other grandmas in the family, too. Those wearing the great-grandmother badge. I should encourage my daughters to offer such tokens more often, just as my daughter does with her sons.
I am a grandmother. Yet the great-grandmothers are the real matriarchs of our family. I must remember that, honor that, model that.
One day I’ll be in their place. And when that day comes, I hope my children prove they’ve learned from my example. I hope they’ll do the same in remembering me.
Lisa Carpenter is a mother, grandmother and writer of the blog Grandma's Briefs. You can read more of her musings at Grandmasbriefs.com
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