Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Grandparent's Voice for Peace

We are the teachers, the historians, the keepers of family secrets, the movers and shakers. Okay, some of you are shaking your heads saying, "You've got to be kidding." Well, no, I'm not kidding. Those of us who have lived these many years are a gift to the world. Everyone always says the youth are the future. People, we have such an influence on the future. We have the tools and knowledge to change the days of our lives. Opportunities abound. We are the future.

Having eighteen years of being cared for, forty-three years of learning the ins and outs of parenting and almost seventeen years of grandparenting, I feel that I have credentials that show my depth of experience. I am a power within myself. A power to change the world and make my own dent in creating peace.

Those of you who follow me know how I feel about my grandchildren and my opportunity to teach them humility and understanding through games and play. As teens, my granddaughters and I share deeper conversations. I know that soon they will be on their own and an old grandma could be forgotten. Well, I will not be forgotten. My job is not finished.

We have a responsibility to ourselves. Why should we just fade away into the corner of the room rocking away in the old rocker and waiting for someone to bring us a cup of tea? We should want to spread our wings before we head to that rocker. We want to travel, to live in new places, to create. Well, that is fantastic. Just do not forget that you have the ability to change the world while you do it. You might be away from your family, but your impact is just as important and strong as for those of us who live nearby.

No matter what our ages we are an example; we influence those around us. Everywhere we go, every contact we make, we can change the world. It is so easy at this age, in looking to coming years, to feel sorry for ourselves or maybe even be a bit afraid. People, take that energy and turn it around. We are so fortunate to have the years we have had. We are blessed to be able to get up in the morning and have a new beginning day after day after day.

In my working experience during the last many years, I have made an effort to look into the eyes of everyone I meet and hope that they know that I see them as fellow traveler and friend in this world. I watch the news and want so desperately for those in pain to know that I am here and care deeply what happens to them. I know it works. IT WORKS!

WE are the future, an energy in this world. WE are a voice for peace, acceptance, change. WE can spread love and understanding. Oh, dear people, grab hold of this world and embrace it. Find love within yourself that spreads to others. Be willing to change for the good of all people. Be willing to give up all you know to learn more.

Yes, we are the grandparents with a voice for peace. Come on, let's change the world.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Grandma wears tennis shoes

She wore a dress and apron most of her life as did mothers before her. She had one Sunday dress that had seen many a Sunday. Under that Sunday dress she wore a girdle. Her life was not easy and fashion and comfort were not her choice. There were standards to be upheld.

I remember when Mom finally got her first pair of pants with an elastic waist. In fact, I think she probably wore them until they were mere tatters. The apron had disappeared as well as that nasty girdle. Mom found freedom to dress as she liked breaking away from tradition.

When we girls were growing up, we were held tight to that earlier way of thinking. Girdles and garter belts. Dresses or skirts. Pants could be worn under our skirts on cold days at school. For a little farm girl, I thought being a boy might have more benefits....at least in clothing line. I remember well wearing sack dresses and chemise dresses to junior high school. Keds seemed to top off the glam. We wore hose or bobby socks. As little kids, we crawled on monkey bars and swung high on swings. No one cared that the dresses flew up over our noses. No one would even consider that pants might be more appropriate.

Then it happened!!! Free at last!!! Random garters in the junk drawers disappeared. Girdles were buried deep in the back forty. Aprons were put away along with the doilies. Even our permed hair became soft and natural. At last, women had found their time. A time of freedom we had not experienced before. In some ways, I feel that the day we slipped into our jeans and baggy shirts, we discovered a new part of ourselves.

"MeMe, you have on my shoes," said Emma when I walked into the house.

When the twins come to my house, they invade my closet trying on my shoes. Nolan quickly loses interest going for the cars and trains. Emma on the other hand takes her time trying on several pair. My bright blue and checkered tennis shoes are her favorite. We seem to have similar taste. She might only be three, but already she is sharing MeMe's wardrobe. My older granddaughters often nab one of my sweaters when they come over and are not ashamed to be in Grammy's jacket. I would never have been caught dead in my Mom's clothes although might have played in her heels when Brenda and I dressed up. I like that my girls find no generation gap in my closet.

Skinny jeans, crazy tennis shoes and a long sweater. My hair is natural, no makeup, comfy in my own style and the real me. I want my grandchildren to discover the real 'them'. It took many women and men to stand up for the rights of women. It took courage to step away from what was in place for generations. We learned to find our own voices, style and more than anything freedom to be who we are. I do not know what my grandchildren will wear in the decades to come. I really do not care. I hope they grow up knowing that they can change the world, they can be different, they can be themselves. I hope that they never judge others and stand up for those who are different.

Yes, grandma wears tennis shoes. They might be just shoes.....but I think they are a whole lot more.