Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grandparents are Important!

There is something about the power of grandparents. I've been thinking about my grandparents a lot lately, and when Andrew, Livie, and I visited my grandmother a couple weekends ago, I thought of Jessica and her Nana, Frances. Learn about Nana at Jessica's blog Remembering Frances. And I'm sure that Jessica thinks about the importance of grandparents in a similar manner to the way I feel about them.

(By the way, I think of her as "Jessica's Nana," not necessarily "Frances." While she is not my "Nana" and I have never met her, I will refer to her in this post as "Nana" because she had grandchildren, and earned the title. Just like my own maternal grandmother earned the title "Oma" and I personally like when I've notice other people refer to her as such - like you'd refer to someone as "Senator" or "Doctor" or "Captain" or some other title.)

I love the importance of my grandparents. They've provided that link to the past - with their stories I love learning about their part in history (my grandmother's time in Chicago, their experiences growing up in El Paso, TX, my grandfather's part in the US Army, what it was like in the days of WWII, their experiences during the Great Depression, even what their thoughts were during the 1980 election), family traditions, what certain family members were like at a young age, funny family anecdotes, what I was like when I was very young. I love that they instilled the importance of reading, of education, the importance of family, of a good sense of humor, of common sense (and my grandfather's "some shortcuts are not really shortcuts" - a story for another day).

I love hearing about the fond memories my mother has of her own grandmother. She remembers the time she'd spend in her own grandmother's kitchen, the fun things they did together, how they lived next door to each other for good chunk of my mother's youth. She spent a lot of time over at her grandmother's house (and would occasionally hide over there for one reason or another).

I love how much Livie loves her own maternal grandmother, her "Abuelita," and how Livie is the best thing ever, according to my mom. My mom would lasso the moon and put it in my back yard if Livie asked her to do so. Just like my own grandmother would've done for me if I'd asked back in the days when I was small.

Anyway, I think Jessica's Nana must have sent a smile and a hug my way the weekend I spent with my Oma, because I thought of both Jessica and Nana during my weekend visit with Oma. I think that maybe Nana knows how much I love my grandparents, and wanted to make sure I really appreciate my Oma in the time we have left together.

First, I couldn't stop hugging Oma. I just couldn't stop. At one point, I was thinking about those family members of mine who couldn't hug Oma. I thought of them as I squeezed Oma in a hug.

Then that made me think of Jessica and Nana. Jessica can no longer give Nana a physical hug, but that doesn't mean she's not getting a hug from her grandmother. When I hugged Oma and thought of Jessica and Nana, I was thinking of how much I appreciated that embrace and thought, This is for Jessica from her very own Nana. While she wasn't getting a physical hug from a grandmother, she was getting a virtual one from me and my own grandmother.

I then made a comment on Facebook about giving Oma lots of hugs. Jessica responded with "Grandmother hugs are the best." Yes they are, and that made me especially glad I sent a virtual one to her.

And then I was reminded that Nana and Oma are similar in a very important way: lipstick. To sum up what they think of lipstick - they're not completely dressed, not ready to face the world, until they get that color on their lips.

During that recent weekend with Oma, we took her out for dinner one night and dessert the next night. Both times, she had to get that lipstick reapplied before she was ready to get in the car and on the road.

Then recently, I learned that Nana visited Jessica one night (check out Jessica's blog Little Merry Sunshine for the story).  I agree with Jessica; I'm sure Nana visited her. I think it was a real visit, because I had a similar experience the night my mother's grandmother - my great-grandmother - died. I'd just seen her the day before. The night she died, I "dreamed" that she came to me and said "Tell your mother I'm going home." I woke up thinking I'd actually spoken to her. Alas, it wasn't a physical conversation. But a conversation nevertheless.

So there it is. Grandparents are so important, they never really leave us. Especially if we share our memories of them with others.

Here's an old memory (before my time, obviously) that I'd like to share. Oma and Sir Rafa are dancing at the Enlisted Club, Ft. Bliss, TX:

1 comment:

Little Merry Sunshine said...

I have tears running down my face. Tears of joy.

Thank you so much for your loving words about my Nana, Sonya. I completely agree with you . . . your Oma and my Nana would have been great friends and would probably share a good laugh about their love of lipstick!

Grandparents are so important and I wish I'd really understood this when I was younger. I grew up in Chicago and all of my grandparents were in Florida. We saw Nana a couple of times a year and tried to see my Gardner grandparents annually, but it was tough because they had to stop traveling by 1985. Nana was able to keep traveling until probably 2003 or 2004.

I wish I'd grown up closer to her and envy friends who now have their parents close by and are able to let their children grow up with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all around them.

I'm so happy you can still see Oma regularly. Not only is it great for you, but it's wonderful for Livie and for Oma. Enjoy every second.

Great post!

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