Thursday, August 6, 2015

Learning Kindness

"Now, we are going to play a new game," I explained to my granddaughters. They were preteens sitting in the car with their Grammy waiting for Mom to get off work. Sometimes boredom calls for desperate measures. With little ones, we give them a different toy or picture or even our cell phones to occupy their time. The older kids are a bit of a challenge.

I pulled the game out of my imagination. "We are going to find something nice about every person who walks by the car." We were sitting in front a strip of the mall housing the pharmacy, grocery, dollar store and liquor store. Quite a variety of people passed by. A good slice of humanity.

In retrospect, I wish I had been as conscious of my actions in raising my children. I was a mom who was dealing with a bad marriage, working and trying to stay afloat financially. In many ways, those years are a blur. They were hard times for me. I was not the best mom I could have been.

The beauty of grandchildren is that you take time to observe. You become more aware of yourself and those around you. You understand that life is short and very precious, so you'd better wake up and make a difference. When I did this 'waking up', I discovered the opportunities life had to offer. Those times when I could make a differences in each and every person I met just by passing on a kind word or a smile. Compassion goes a long way in creating a better world.

"I like her purse." "I like his watch." "Er, I lllliiikkkeee her, ah, eyes." Yes, sometimes the game was difficult. Humanity passed before our eyes. We saw it for what was on the outside and tried to look deeper for something that was positive and good in the inside. I had no idea how this game would work. When you are pulling randomly from your brain, you just hope it goes well.

This was just the beginning. We often waited for Mom. And, each time the girls asked to play the game. They picked out the parking place so we would be able to see as many people as possible. We watched life go by in front of the car and reached out with hope. We looked, truly looked, at these people. We looked past the dirt and shabbiness. We looked past color and race. We looked past the pain, sorrow, anger on their faces. It almost seemed that we looked deeper into those who needed to be seen and loved than we did those who seemed to have it all.

A lesson was learned. Kindness was taught. Compassion reigned. We grew closer in this challenge. Conversations occurred as we talked about the differences and struggles of man/womankind. Each of us hoped for the best for those people who passed this car of observers. We were in a bubble looking out with eyes that saw beauty instead of judgment. We sent out thoughts of love and well-being. We grew as we looked at the faces and untold stories. We sat in the car, the older generation and the younger, learning more about ourselves and learning to love.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I made it

My legs ached, my back ached and the sweat was dripping off my forehead. I couldn't give up. I knew I could make it if I tried. It was an uphill battle, but one I that had to be done. Determination and dedication was the only thing that pulled me through. I made it. Thank God, I made it.

Yep, that's the way I feel many time when babysitting the twins, age 3. At times there are other things I would rather be doing. I don't want to sit on the floor. I don't want to take a walk in the sweltering weather. I'm tired of picking up toys and wiping butts. Some days I find it difficult to be fun and to find that little bit of energy that must be hiding somewhere in this old body.

Grandma. A name that gave me a choice. I could be a grandma who looks forward to the parents picking up the kids. Not that its wrong to be that grandma, but I made a conscious decision to be more than that. I wanted my grandkids to know that being their Grammy or MeMe didn't mean old. Those sweet titles mean full of life and creativity, energy and endurance, unwavering love. When the twins were born, it had been ten years since my last grand baby. Now were had two infants. The energy I felt back then was missing. So, I decided not think about the aches and creaks in my bones. I decided to enjoy and love and fly by the seat of my pants.

One of the dearest compliments I received from a grandchild was when Gabby said, "I want to be a grandma like you someday." I wanted to have a grandma like me way back when.

We are what we allow ourselves to be. I found that in my efforts to keep up, I was stronger. In my tolerance, I was wiser. In my involvement, I grew in all ways.  For me there is no better way to spend time. I hope that I give to my grandchildren as much as they give to me. Being a grandma has been the greatest gift of all. Being the grandma that I am today means I made it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Enjoy the journey

She decided to write her history. She began writing it in her early 80's. The first journal was sent to me, her keeper of the past. The second was never finished.

Mom. She was quite a character. Her journals verify the fact. She could tell a story like no other, leaving us wondering at times if she told the story as it happened or embellished it to make it even juicier. Either way, her journals are treasures.

Mom passed before she could begin the second journal. As she wrote, one memory would trigger a dozen others. Priceless. Her words are priceless.

There is a journal inside of each of us. Mine comes in the form of a blog. A blog. A history. Something that perhaps my family will read when I am beyond words. A gift.

I am often asked how I do it? Well, you just write. There is no need to think about it. Just let the words flow, using the voice you hear in your head. That is the voice that knows what you want to say and releases you to say it. As you write, the words will unfold and multiply. What began with perhaps a bit of a struggle will turn into a joy.

Our heads are all full of words. Some are sad. Some are happy. Some are even confusing. When allowed exposure, they give you new perspective. Perhaps that is how wisdom is born. I found that when I began to write, I began to find more parts of myself. I became less afraid to expose that inner part of me and my world.

Old, young, in middle age? It doesn't matter. Your story is your own. Your story is mine, and mine is yours. Ours intertwine and expand. We are after all joined in our humanity. Perhaps in that joined humanity we will find peace and better understanding.

Maybe you want to keep your words for yourself. No problem. They are your words. Begin today and enjoy your journey.