Pam Brown wrote: “becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric.” I’ll admit that the prehistoric part sort of concerns me. I remember years and years ago when my first-born son Josh, about 4 at the time, asked me why people get married. I gave him a far too complicated answer no doubt … about wanting the same things, loving each other, and commitment. When I was done he stood thoughtfully for a moment and then said: “Mommy, when I grow up … if you’re not dead yet, will you marry me?” I realized then that to him I must look very old, and I guess that’s the same with grandchildren; indeed, Art recently told his mother that Baubie was turning 80. Ah – youth … and age Recently I heard that a child was asked to define grandmothers and said that “grandmothers are people who are very very old … like 30 or 100“. Okay, so if that’s the age cohort I belong to I can live with that. Wise child. I am grandmother to four absolutely amazing young children and the joy that they bring to my life is awesome. Grandmother. Yup, that’s a part of my identity that didn’t change with retirement.
There’s much to learn from being a grandmother. “Our grandchildren“, Ruth Goode tells us, “accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.” What I’ve noticed is that being the recipient of such acceptance makes all the difference; it brings out what is best and most loving, removes tiredness (mostly), shines hopefulness on everything and generally just plain makes me happy. I am going to try to work on being more accepting myself. Really I’m on that path already because one of the things I’m developing through meditation is the ability to look at (or think about) something without judgement.
For me, those wee faces – and the trust in those eyes – is what keeps me truly committed to the work that I do. Work that I do. Hhmm. I didn’t know I’d still be saying that post-retirement. It’s taken a few months to start getting comfortably into the “new me” but here I am, working away, doing what’s important, and barely losing steam at all.
When I started writing this blog I was wondering what I’d say post-retirement (PR) when people asked me what I did. I’m starting to develop an answer that I like. It starts with: “Well, I’m a grandmother”. It’s a beginning!