Friday, January 13, 2012

Ergo Ego

A special thanks to you have written such kind words of support for this grandma in transition. Your kindness is deeply appreciated.

In the eyes of a child. A baby is born. A dark pair of eyes stare at a new world. For the first time we are assailed by sounds that have no basis and blurry faces that keep pulling, squeezing and dampening our faces with kisses....kisses that have no name as yet. A baby is born. A baby is born to confusion.

I'm in awe. At my young age for sixty-four, I'm still trying to figure out life. I should be better at this with all of my experience. But then, I've never been a senior. I've never been in the situation I am in now. I've never had middle aged children. I've never been this me before. Sometimes I feel just as confused as a newborn child. One exception: I have experience to help me.

I was raised in a time when the motto was pretty much "Children should be seen and not heard." Oh, our parents listened as much as they could from their experience that began when they were children, yet they didn't really 'listen', and we really didn't 'talk'. Something that would last until we lost our parents.

Well, I like to think that I'm a sponge for information. I can absorb, learn and change. In trying to find my own voice, I try to listen to others. It's rather egotistical to think I have all the answers and that they are the right ones, or that they apply to everyone. Ego can very easily get in the way personal growth. It is never to late to change.

How are my granddaughters adjusting? I don't know. I can't be in their shoes. They are going through changes that they don't understand. So what is my role in their lives? What can I do to introduce them to the world around them that began with a blurry vision?

As grandparents the best thing we can do is to back off and listen. As seniors, we better darn well have learned the listening lesson. If we cannot learn and grow, we are of no use to our families. Listening is not just verbal. Listening is with the eyes, with body language, hearing what is not said. Listening is a skill that begins with asking the right questions, with putting ourselves aside, with interacting with no expectations.

I don't remember what it was like to start learning about this world after I left the warm isolation of the womb. I don't remember what it was like to take a first step or eat my first solid food. But I do remember feeling powerless when no one took time to listen to me, when no one seemed to understand. I didn't have anyone to talk to. I didn't even know how to express the turmoil within me.

I think perhaps being the head of the family means being the rump as well. We have to follow those we love in order to be able to guide. I remember trying on my mother's shoes playing grownup. I wish that my mother had tried on my shoes and tried kid. There is an ego that rides on our shoulders that tells us what we deserve and how we seem to know everything. Perhaps ego is indeed the enemy that creates war and pain. Having high self esteem is different than ego. Ego. Three letters.

What a wonderful opportunity to be a grandparent. What a fantastic time to learn about ourselves and to find new ways of listening. To find new ways of conversation.

Ergo ego, I walk away from you and into a world of discovery.

Today on Neff Road: Today Sixty Years Later


  1. Good post! Listening really is a very important skill to learn -- and sadly some people never do.

  2. Great line: "I think perhaps being the head of the family means being the rump as well." A very interesting way to put it!