Friday, July 15, 2011

It's All Fulfilling

My grandmother turns 87 today.  I called her yesterday. I listened to her talk for about 10 minutes or so - mostly about her health, and about her wonderful neighbors.  This used to bore me, and I would wonder if old people ever talk about anything else.  Now I am starting to listen, really listen.  I even find myself talking like this sometimes.  And it’s nice to have an ear.  And, frankly, that is the answer to How Are You?

 Then she asked about us.  I yearn desperately for my answer not to be “just busy.” I am aware.  I pause, and try to think of a different answer.  Just running from one thing to another.  Or swim, tennis, soccer .  Often I say, “I have become the mother I made fun of before I had kids. Back when I knew everything.”  Everyone says they are busy.  Some view it as an accolade, the busier , the better. There are so many opportunities, and people want the best for their kids. Maybe I was like this. Sometimes I am still like this.  I dictate our busy schedule just to get the “gosh...” or oh......Now I am embarrassed about it. Who would do this much?
My grandmother did not judge me.  Not a bit.  She, somehow, understands.  She came of age during the depression and knows to her soul how it is to be without.  She now lives in a Mobile home park in Tennessee, always something in need of repair.  She gets by on a meager income, and buys fresh veggies in the summer and freezes them for winter. But she is so thankful and thinks she lives in a castle.
So, I embarrassingly tell her some of the things the kids are doing and begin to explain my quandary , and how I feel guilty for not having family time and more dinners together.  She says they are lucky to have all that and they are lucky to have y’all as parents.  You think about it.  You are aware.  You give up yourself for them.  Whatever choice you make, it is a good one.  If they are in many activities, they are fine.  If they are home, they are fine.  It is all fulfilling.
It is all fulfilling.  Now that is a new spin. You don’t hear that one every day. 

Now, how different would my days be if I simply started every day with that affirmation?
She went on.  It doesn’t really last that long.  And then you move into a new phase.  And that’s a good phase too.  They start getting older, coming into themselves.  That is really fun to see.  And while they are coming into themselves, you start getting yourself back, start having more time to see who you are now, and how you have changed. You get to enjoy them in a different way.  It’s all natural and normal. It’s all part of life. 

So, don’t worry, honey.  We all question how we raise our children.  We all wonder if we are doing it right.  We all make mistakes. And I say, if you are thinking like this, you are doing it right.  Just love them.  And everything will be fine. They’ll be fine.  You’ll be fine.

It is all fulfilling.

Happy Birthday, Nana.  I love you.


  1. Fabulous. I love your Nana too. Thank you - once again - for letting me off the hook.


  2. I love the way you speak of your grandmother, and coming to appreciate the way she feels and sees the world, at 87.

    And sometimes it takes others to be our better mirrors regarding our lives. If not our inner lives, certainly the hustle-and-bustle of our pace, all too frenetic in this culture, and that, taken (unfortunately) as the norm.

    Delighted to have discovered your blog!