WHAT DO YOU WANT THE CHILDREN TO REMEMBER YOU FOR?
My Granny Bunny died when I was eight years old but I still remember her sweet smile and most of all, her wonderful hands.
Granny’s hands talked with her. Her nails were always beautifully manicured and I loved the character lines that rippled across the backs of her hands and fingers.
In part, I think she was my inspiration for the picture at the top of this page.
It may seem weird that this is the big memory I take away of my mother’s mother but, true to her generation, Granny was not overly affectionate.
She never babysat me so our time together always included at least my mother.
I do not remember Granny reading me a story, sharing words of wisdom, playing with me, cuddling me, wiping my tears or making beautiful things with me.
I do however have a sense of her being extremely kind and of her loving me.
When I asked my own children what they think of most when they think about childhood times with their grandmother – my mother – they say going out on amazing outings with her and her insistence on good table manners.
The latter they say with an affectionate smile as they remember the little verse she always says; “Tami, Tami, strong and able, keep your elbows off the table”.
Hubby had to think hard to capture memories of his maternal grandmother.
Nan, like Granny, didn’t have a lot of direct involvement with him. He remembers “she was always cooking”.
GRAND PARENTING’S CHANGING ROLE
How things change from generation to generation.
Skip forward to now and grandparents all over the world are tickling, cuddling, kissing, reading to, playing with, making with, shopping for, teaching and loving their grandchildren.
Many of them are raising their grandchildren. In Australia, it is estimated there are 50,000 plus grandparent families, that is: “households where there were grandparent-grandchild relationships in the absence of parent-child relationships”.
The Australian government stresses the numbers are hard to pin down accurately because there are so many informal arrangements.
One thing is for certain, the number of grandparents caring for their grandchildren, full or part-time has grown worldwide.
According to data from the National Survey of Families and Households more than one in 10 American grandparents are found to have cared for a grandchild for at least six months, many even longer.
According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics, 937,000 children under the age of 12 are receiving childcare from their grandparents.
Some grandparents are even retiring early to provide this service.
New South Wales celebrates Grandparents Day on October 25.
This is a state-funded initiative to celebrate “the vital role that grandparents play in our society, as custodians of individual and cultural memories and as providers of care and love to their children and grandchildren.
“Grandparents Day recognises the irreplaceable role grandparents have in their families and in the wider community”.
The Grandparents Day organisation’s wording is quite lovely – we are the ‘custodians of memories’.
It is true most grandparents I know, myself included, love to hand down traditions – favourite recipes, special skills – and share great memories of older times.
But we are also making the memories.
The whole idea got me thinking more about what I’d like my grandkids to remember me for, rather than memories I hand down from older generations.
I also started wondering what other grandmothers wanted their legacy, the memory of them, to be so I asked a few of them.
THE NO 1 THING GRANDPARENTS WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR
Here are the results:
QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR GRANDCHILDREN TO REMEMBER YOU FOR?
Seems unconditional love is the number one thing grandparents want to be remembered for.
Out of 12 people interviewed, this answer came up 9 times.
The other top answers were always ‘being there’ for the grandchildren and having time to give them cuddles.
I want them to remember me as loving them the most in the whole wide world – (that is our special saying) – Viv
QUESTION: IF YOU COULD TEACH YOUR GRANDCHILDREN JUST ONE THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
These answers ranged from the importance of time and love for family, to how to manage your finances wisely.
I want them to understand they should not expect to get something for nothing. You need to be prepared to work to reach your goals and not rely on handouts.- Sally
Your actions and words have the power to hurt and to heal so be kind, but remember you are ultimately not responsible for anyone else’s happiness – just your own – Tamuria
QUESTION: IF YOU COULD ONLY LEAVE ONE FAMILY MEMORY OR TRADITION BEHIND, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
These answers ranged from special dishes traditionally cooked on various occasions to Christmas traditions such as having a Christmas ‘lucky dip’ basket of wrapped presents that family members can be surprised with.
One of the interviewed grandmothers is also featured in my Glam Grans’ Favourite Foods series. Click here for her traditional dish to make people well.
Most families have traditions around Christmas and Easter and birthdays which, we are finding, are eroded as our children gain partners and their families. So the one tradition that is unique to us and that I would hate to lose is the planting of the sweet peas on (or about) St Patricks Day, We started this originally in memory of my Mum when she passed away 28 years ago. Now it’s for Mum and Dad. – Viv
More great advice from Alison, who is Nanny to two of the Goddesses.
Laugh, love, enjoy yourself, your friends and your family. – Alison
What do you want to be remembered for? Leave your comment below.
Happy memory-making and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.