As I consider a modern day grandmother, I wonder if she’s one who fits a certain criteria, or if she breaks the stereo-typical grandmother mold. Perhaps she likes to knit, or sew, or garden, or cook…or, perhaps, not. Perhaps she has a career, or has never worked outside the home. Maybe she loves the outdoors, or can’t stand the elements. The possibilities are endless.
I grew up with three grandmothers, because I had a great-grandmother. She actually outlived the other two. I loved each one, but my great-grandmother was quite a character. Maybe it’s because she lived the longest and had more stories to tell. She did have the stories to tell, and enjoyed telling them, too.
She may have given us a glimpse of life before things were modernized, but that’s only partially true. They may not have been modern times for us, but she was pretty modern for her time, whatever moment in time she happened to be in. And she was tough. She was what you would call feisty.
She lost her mother when she was 12 and, as the oldest, became caretaker for her younger siblings. She married young, soon had her own children, eventually divorced (more than once), and helped her daughter raise my dad.
She was a business owner. She had a neighborhood grocery store in a decent sized city in the 1940s, and I’m pretty sure she may have originated the phrase, “taking care of business”, although decades later Elvis got credit for it (i.e., TCB). And business wasn’t limited to her job or career…it simply referred to whatever was the business at hand.
She ran a tight ship, but always played games with us. She was tough (I know, I said that already), yet had a gentle side. She loved her family fiercely, and taught us to do the same.
She lived in the moment. She played the hand she was dealt and made the most of it. She did things she wanted and things she enjoyed, but one thing never changed. No matter the decade, no matter the circumstances, her family was her top priority.
She was what Oprah would call her “authentic self.”
Ironically, I just took a phone call from my dad and he and mom are visiting the town where they were born and raised, the town where we were all born . Mom is at a Red Hat Society event with her sisters and Dad just came in from romping around southern Indiana and western Kentucky with his sister. And on this glorious fall day, from hundreds of miles away, our conversation reminded me our strong ties and deep roots. I am taken back to some of the very memories I’m writing about.
He talked about different places they visited and things they had done, even foods they had eaten, and my emotions are stirred. It’s a nostalgic feeling. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s a home feeling. And although I just have Daisy right now, it’s the feeling I want her, and my future grandchildren, to have when they think of me and our family.
So, what does it mean to me to be a “modern-day grandmother”? It’s just living in the moment and making good memories with those I love. Maybe it will even cause them to be a little stronger, smarter, or more well-rounded than I…or at least a little bit entertained.
Most of all, may it give those I love the ability to always have a little bit of home with them wherever they go.