My youngest niece spent Monday evening getting engaged. Brooke is the youngest daughter of my brother Dave. We are all very happy for her, except for the fact that given that she is the youngest and is as tiny as a firefly, we can’t stop thinking but she’s too YOUNG to get married even though she really isn’t.
Since learning that she said YES to Alexx’s proposal, I have had my mind on my mother. In fact, my first thought when my brother texted me that Alexx was going to propose that very evening was that Mom would have been so happy. That’s rather funny because of Mom and Dad’s nine grandkids, Brooke was the one Mom didn’t know. She passed away before Dave married Brooke’s mom, and so before Brooke became his daughter, both legally (he adopted her) and in his heart.
Here’s what I know, however. Mom would have loved Brooke because she loved all of her grandkids with her whole heart and her whole soul. I learned how to be a grandmother from two people: my own grandmother and my mother.
My mother was whatever is the opposite of a helicopter parent. We were not coddled. We were loved, but not spoiled. She protected us if we were in need of protection, but she didn’t hover. And if we were the cause of any problems, she made sure we took responsibility and made things right.
Her grandkids, on the other hand, simply could do no wrong. And woe betide anyone who caused them any trouble. When my son Court, for example, didn’t make the basketball team at his high school, my mother was furious. It never dawned on her that perhaps he wasn’t quite as talented as the kids who did make the team. All she knew was that he was disappointed, and had that coach walked into the room for any reason, she would have given him a, well, stern description of the error of his ways.
From my mother, I learned the importance of spending time with your grandkids and accepting them for who they were. I also learned that any bad traits your grandkids demonstrate came from the other side of the family! What a coincidence.
From my own grandmother, I learned how to love without reservation. My grandparents came from the German area of Switzerland, and so were expected to be somewhat cold and stern. My grandfather rather fit that bill, but my grandmother never got the message. She loved whole-heartedly, giving lots of hugs and kisses. Her personality was full of wry wit coupled with the softest heart you can imagine. She was patient and kind and oh-so-funny.
I don’t know if I demonstrate any of those traits, but I know that loving my grandkids is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
And I know that my mother would love that her youngest grandchild was getting married.