Saturday, July 11, 2009


The other day I had the grandkids in the car and we were all going swimming. The conversation was definitely thought provoking.

Russell was talking about going dirt bike riding with Oscar. So Josh chimed in saying that he wanted to go too. They then played a game of 'can you top that' regarding hanging out with Oscar.

Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends.

That conversation got me to thinking about my own grandparents. I didn't know my father's parents at all. My dad's mother died when he was about 3. I only saw his father for an afternoon every other year or so. My only real memory of him was his noticing my braces and then offering to remove them with sheep shears! I knew he was teasing by the twinkle in his eye and I remember he called me "Ruthie". But there was no relationship really.

I remember my mother's parents much better. My memories of my mother's father are dimmer because he died when I was 10. Then my grandmother came to live with us. I was named after my grandmother and I adored her. The year she lived with us was the only time in my life that I came home from school to someone there who wanted to hear about my day. My parents both worked and I don't ever remember just talking with my parents. I must have, though, because I have lots of memories of them telling me to stop talking!

But I remember talks with my grandmother. Before she was married, she was an elocutionist. I think the generic term would be 'after dinner speaker'. Back in the early 1900's, an after dinner speaker was often hired to entertain guests. They would often give a dramatic reading of a popular book of the day. I got to hear stories of her readings and then she would work with me on my speech. She taught me tongue twisters and had me repeat them over and over until I could recite them flawlessly.

Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old.

My grandmother would often darn socks (I don't remember socks with holes but they must have been someone's socks). She could also tat. She offered to teach me but I was clumsy and very left handed and was never able to master my fingers.

I used to love The Monkees TV show and my grandmother hated it. It was slapstick humor and she would always tell me that she couldn't stand to see things (like furniture) being needlessly broken, even if it wasn't real. She would mend my clothes that I would regularly tear and she listened to me. More than anyone else in my childhood, my grandmother really listened. And I knew without a shadow of doubt that I was her favorite. That was a very, very cherished memory because I had never been and never was again in my childhood, someone's favorite.

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.

Kevin has wonderful memories of his mother's parents too. He loved going fishing with Grandpa and just talking with him. He still talks about things his grandmother used to bake. And we still laugh at some of Grandma's favorite sayings. "My stars and garters!" and "It's raining pitchforks and N***** babies!" were our favorites. I adored them too and I always felt loved and accepted by both of them.

A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.

All that ran through my mind as I heard my grandsons discussing their grandfather. Then I realized that our grandchildren are going to feel the same way about Kevin and me! What an amazing concept. I mean, it's easy for me to comprehend how much I loved my grandmother. But to think that my grandchildren will love me like that is truly incredible.

When my kids started their families, I told them that my goal in life was to be the favorite grandmother. It's definitely a good goal, but I'm learning that I'm getting the best end of that deal!!

Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren.


Angie said...

I was my Papaw's favorite...he was the only person whose favorite I was growing up. It's weird as a kid realizing that your parents have favorites and you're not it. I can so relate to this post...just one more way that we are truly sisters!

And my dad used the "pitchforks" phrase!

Jaime said...

I'm all teary eyed. That was very well written and I"m so thankful that my boys have such wonderful grandparents to be loved by and make memories with. Russell loved dirtbiking yesterday. And, quality time seems to be one of his main love languages, so he really enjoyed the special time with Oscar.

Thanks for being great grandparents for our kids. I love you!

Jinglebob said...

Great post Ruth! I didn't get to know any of mine either, so I kind of used Kevin's! ;) But they were awfully young!

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.