Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Taught To Soar

A child is born. A daughter becomes a mother and a mother a grandmother.

A child comes with no instructions. If they did, each would be as different as is each child. My first grandchild was an easy little girl to entertain and raise. Her sister, Gabby, was the opposite. A bundle of energy and curiosity from the moment she was old enough to discover the world around her. No two alike. No road map to follow.

I thought I'd done a pretty good job raising my children. They don't seem to be too damaged from the ways of their mother. Not living close to my own mother, I did the best I could with what I had learned and in realizing what I didn't know. I thought I did a pretty good job....until I had grandchildren.

Something clicks in when a grandchild is born. I don't know if it is true for all grandmas, but I discovered that I have a power of observation that was non-existent with my own children. This discovery of a new me was a bit of a shock. For the first time, I wasn't so sure I had been a good parent. I wanted to do it all over again and give my kids a better me. Darn it.

Gabby has taught me to slow down. To be interactive rather than reactive. She taught me patience instead of insistence, talking on the same level instead of heads above her. I learned to listen to what I could not see as well as understanding that which was written all over her actions. I had to give up all preconceived notions about child raising in order to understand each of my grandchildren according to their personalities. In discovering these children, I am discovering myself.

I looked up 'molded' on Free Dictionary Online:
1. To shape in or on a mold.

a. To form into a particular shape; give shape to.
b. To guide or determine the growth or development of; influence: a teacher who helps to mold the minds of his students.

How often do we hear the term molding the child? I don't want to mold the child. I want to discover the child and encourage each to grow through observation. I don't want to influence. I want the children to draw their own conclusions by offering a variety of avenues to explore. I don't want to give shape to them. I want them to find their own voices and shape themselves. I do not want to know all the answers. I want to offer possibilities.

This being a grandma has given birth to a new me. I am awed by what I do not know and excited at what I can learn from these two girls. For once in my life, I am learning to listen to an inner voice I did not know I possessed.

A baby was born nine years ago. A bundle of energy. Energy that explores and discovers. A mind that finds creative ways of doing things. A girl who can pile up sofa cushions and discover a world out of reach. A girl who will use her curiosity, her constant smile to soar and change the world.

Happy Birthday, Gabby. You are a gift to my life.

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