Monday, April 8, 2019

As they grow

As they grow, so, too, do I. The distance in their ages grows more and more each year with Sydney a soon to be junior in college, Gabby a soon to be senior in high school and the twins soon to be seven. The distance between them grows, and this grandma wants so much to slow it down. What bridges have I made that will last the test of time. When will the gap lessen and understanding awaken?

I was born ten years behind my eldest sister and seven behind the next. I remember only glimpses of them when I was small. A sister who teased. A sister in college and her life. Vague memories that peek in once in awhile. I long to have had more of them in my childhood so try to make up for that gap as an adult. We build bridges over time that lessen that gap in age. We set age aside and became closer.

Sydney held Nolan in her arms. Her sister held the other twin, Emma. "I wish we were closer in age," said Sydney. My heart lurched. The past came pouring over me. I got it. I get it.

These adult granddaughters love their twin cousins. They do not see them often, and, when they do, it is a struggle between begging little ones and adult conversation that interests them. The gap widens. When Gabby goes off to college, that gap will widen even more. When Sydney begins life out in the world, the leap will be enormous. I see it. I feel it. How I want my family to always remain close. How I want to live to see it. Yes, it is not always easy being a grandparent.

I have talked to Sydney and Gabby about how important their presence will be in the lives of Emma and Nolan. We cannot leave behind who we are and what we feel unless we do something about it now. The girls know that I hope they will always strive to be in touch with the littler ones. To tell them the stories about their growing up and their family. They are the keepers of the future and the family. A heavy burden? No, a gift.

The beauty of any family relationship is that is shapes itself constantly. What we teach the children of their past is not only the passing of information, but it is showing the example of caring to relate history with all of its foibles and tears. The people I hold dear who have left this sphere are so embedded in my heart that I cannot keep their history quiet. It fills me with love and laughter that I can do nothing with but share it. Pictures. Old trunks and boxes of memories. All of the parts of me  and my family.

So many older people are reducing their households. I have gone to auctions and seen a suitcase full of snapshots, old postcards and letters tossed into a box. So many things that are of a past tossed aside, because who will want them. Well, let the next generation make that decision. Don't lose your past.

When my parents passed, we three girls were the only ones allowed to go through the house room by room, going through absolutely everything. Our children told us what they would like to have. We drew numbers, so in each room, we followed the draw. Truly it was an emotional experience. We found things we never knew Mom and Dad saved. We read cards, sorted through pictures and looked through scrapbooks. We learned about our parents in a new way. In returning to our homes, we packed away memories, finding that most of the things went home with us. We found a new friendship in one another. We said good-bye together, feeling the same sense of loss and thankfulness for what we had.

So, you see, as they grow up it is important to realize the importance of ourselves. For in watching and listening to us, they will build their own history. They will know us better. And for us? Well, we leave more of ourselves behind, knowing that we leave it all in good hands.

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