Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Listen Up Bub…bies

It may not surprise any of you to know that I have very VERY strong opinions about certain things. But in the interest of retaining friends and family I very rarely will discuss them in a public forum. And while I know I am right and everyone else is wrong I do know that everybody is entitled to their own opinions about things from who deserves equal rights in our country to if the word “shvartzah” is EVER permitted to be spoken.

Hey, it’s a free country.

But a certain issue cropped up that I decided I can no longer be silent about. Thinking about the wrong that is going on around us literally makes me dizzy with fury as it is JUST SO WRONG.

Now you are correct, there are tons of things that are JUST SO WRONG. However when certain things affect my child or the children of people I know and care for it bothers me in a way that I hope most Mommies can understand. Especially because righting this wrong doesn’t take an act of congress to change-just a change within yourself.

I’m talking to you Grandmas.

I was fortunate enough to be born with 2 grandmothers and 3 great grandmothers. Now 1 great grandmother wasn’t around too long and 1 lived in Israel but the 2 grandmothers and 1 great grandmother that were around were wonderful. I may not have fully treasured the glory and splendor of the grandmotherly love when I was younger but as I grew up and had my Baubies and my Safta fighting over who could send me the best care package in college I grew to appreciate it.

Yeah sure it was sometimes annoying to have to call them all the instant my plane touched down. And it was a bit troublesome if not comical to watch the little cat fights they would all get into around the Seder table on whether my underage brother should be allowed to drink his four glasses in actual wine. But it was all part of their charm.

Now I have 0 grandmothers and 0 great grandmothers to call and tell I love in the last few minutes before Shabbat and I am telling you I so wish I could. They all loved me unconditionally and no matter what I did I knew that there were 3 ladies with a penchant for polyester slacks and weekly hairdresser appointments that would think I was the best thing in the world.

It is a love that I can not describe to any of you who were not fortunate enough to grow up with Grandmothers (and I do know that there are many), but believe me if you want what is best for your child then you want your child to have that feeling.

So you can see why it upsets me deeply that there are Baubies and Saftas and Grammys and Nanas out there who don’t give a rat’s patooty about what a profound effect they can have on their grandchildren.

I know too many Grandmas who just won’t put forth the effort to seeing the life that their own child created grow up. Who don’t think that a grandchild is any “fun” if they are too small to go to a baseball game. Who would rather play an extra hand at the casino than spend the night with the grandson. Who will go for weeks without seeing, let alone speaking to their granddaughter. Who will bitch and moan if you ask them to just watch the child for one afternoon a month.

I know you think that they aren’t your responsibility. That you have done your job and now you can just take a hands off approach. That carrying a picture around in your wallet qualifies you for Grandma of the Year. Or that hosting one brunch every other month makes you Queen Bee and you can brag about your wonder amongst your friends.


Your financial responsibility to your child may end when they turn 18, but the love responsibility does not. It’s a forever sort of thing, and if you are blessed enough to have a grandchild then loving them falls under you too. No, you don’t have to raise them. No, you don’t have to support them or lavish them with gifts or even call daily. But your grandchild deserves to KNOW their grandmother. Deserves quality one on one time. Deserves to feel all the love that only she can give them.

A scary number of my friends have lost a mother way before her time. Their children have lost out on having any chance of knowing a whole grandmother. And to see these grandmothers that are lucky enough to be around sit there waiting for the grandchild to just feel honored to be in their presence enrages me.

And it makes it so much worse when they live close by. My mother was here this past weekend and it was wonderful. She lives 3 hours away…by plane. A $400 ticket if she can find a good deal and I will be darned if she does not try to see her beautiful Princess every month. She says she actually is in physical pain when she isn’t able to be with us-and I believe her because so are we.

I can’t speak about Zadies, Grandpas, Papas or Opas but a grandmother is a horrible thing to waste. So get up off your tushies and call your grandchild. Make a date, make a plan. Hear their voices. Understand every word they have to say. Hey, be the cool Nana that gets video chat. Write them a card and draw them a picture. Because I want you all to be around for at least another 120 years, but just in case you aren’t, appreciate how fortunate you are and try to make every moment count.


Anonymous said...

You are right on! The impact of a grandmother on a child's life is truly profound. My grandmother was my idol and my second mother and is the one who molded me into the person I am today.

Thanks for the blog, it made me think of her.


Anonymous said...

The grandparent/grandchild relationship should be nurtured and cherished. It's a shame all the grandparents who choose not be involved. And it hurts just as much those who try to be, and just fall short of truly adding value and making a difference.