My patriarchal blessing is kind of boring. It just says the normal stuff about being a good girl, getting married, stay faithful- ya know nothing huge like "you'll be a great leader" or "you'll succeed as an artist" (which was what I was going for). It really only says one personal thing to me- "Your children will be the brightest jewels in your crown". I was nineteen and this just wasn't the "fortune" I wanted to hear. So I went on my merry way. I eventually got married and started a family, never once thinking that they were in any way "jewels".
Fast forward some 37 years. It's Christmas and everyone is seated at the dining room table. The grandkids are wiggling around. Kelly is expecting her first in March. Before the blessing I stand up to give a toast.
Before I tell you the rest I need to explain that all 4 of my kids live close. Sandy and Dave live in the next town over, Kelly lives about two hours away, and Harry is still at home.
So ... the Toast. I tell them about my patriarchal blessing. I hadn't thought about it in years and never understood what it meant until recently. I tell them that they truly are the jewels of my crown and that they are the reason for my life. Then David's wife, Nancee, announces she's pregnant with their 3rd so I sit down.
There's a saying that I've seen on those boards you hang in your living room: "Each time a child is born, so is a grandmother." I'm one of those grammas. Neither my grandmother nor my mother was one of those grammas so I decided to make a real effort to be THE GRAMMA.
So what makes a great "GRAMMA"?
In my opinion she needs to be round (OK, she doesn't have to be, but I am.)
There are the fun things grammas should be able to do:
- Baking cookies with small children who are messy and drop eggs on the floor is helpful.
- Having toys -no-having lots of toys and preferably in a huge closet or playroom is a big thumbs up.
- Cooking only favorite foods for dinner is popular and having every kind of ice cream flavor for dessert doesn't hurt either.
- Riding bikes, practicing ballet, swinging, swimming, playing catch, crashing hot wheels cars are also good skills.
- Sleepovers are a "MUST".
Then there are the serious things grammas should be able to do:
- Saying "NO" without causing a fight is crucial - I'm still trying to master this one.
- Making sure every grandchild feels equally special is so important. I try really hard, but sometimes the parents get jealous.
- Sometimes being "Doctor Gramma" is important: "He'll be fine." "Use Desitin not organic Buttpaste." "It's just a cold." "Eating dirt will not kill her." or "You need to take him to the doctor. I've never seen that before."
- Always having a lap to sit on, a shoulder to lean against, a knee to bounce, a listening ear and a kiss on the cheek are standard equipment.
- If at all possible BABYSIT! If a gramma is at home and her grandchildren need a sitter the gramma should help.
Now I realize that not all grandmothers have the ideal situation that I have with my grandchildren living close, but there are lots of ways to BE THE GRAMMA. My sister talks on the phone to her granddaughter everyday and they visit through the computer by skyping and email. I know grammas who text or even write letters. My son-in-law posts a picture of Roko everyday on Facebook for me (and everyone else) to see.
Being THE GRAMMA really starts in your heart. You have to realize what a special role you have and how it influences the lives of your grandchildren and your children.
Bill Cosby once talked about his parents, as grandparents, were not the same people they were as his parents. I think I've heard my kids say the same thing about me.
So my patriarchal blessing...the brightest jewels in my crown...watching "Hot Wheels Force 5" with Andrew...what more could I ask out of life?