WHAT DO YOU WANT THE CHILDREN TO REMEMBER YOU FOR?

MEMORIES

My Granny Bunny died when I was eight years old but I still remember her sweet smile and most of all, her wonderful hands.

 

remember picture
My Granny Bunny

 

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.

 

GRANDPARENTS DAY

 

remember picture

 

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?

ANSWERS:

unconditional love picture

 

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?

ANSWERS:

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?

ANSWERS:

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.

She says:

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.

 

 

Comments

  • I always love reading your articles but I specially love this one.I have great memories with my grandparents and now that she is gone, I realised that she has a lot of influence in me as a grown woman.

  • I’d want to be a grandmummy just like my own mom was to my son. She was always there and then we all lived together until she passed, and my son loved her so much he called us both “mom”. It was amazing and I still miss her.

    • It’s lovely you and your son have such wonderful memories of your Mum. I can already tell from your posts that you will be an amazing grandmummy – so much fun. 🙂

  • I love this! Unconditional love is No. 1 for me too. I also hope to influence my granddaughters to be independent, strong women, which my 3-yo is already proving to be 🙂

  • My memories of my maternal grandmother are of her velvet-like skin and her wonderful warm loving ways. My mother is a lot like her mother, and whereas my grandmother had 14 grandchildren, my mother only has one. My daughter. Their relationship is priceless and I know my daughter will have lasting memories because my mother has always been here and is now 99 going on 100. Still vibrant and active. I don’t know if I will have grandchildren and am sad about that sometime. My paternal grandmother died at the young age of 27. My father died before my daughter was born, so she never knew my incredible and funny father, although she is name after him. Interesting statistics on how many children are begin raised by their grandparents in Australia. Very lovely post, filled with wonderful memories and questions. Thanks Tami. Whether it is as a grandparent or not, we all would be wise to question ourselves on how we want to be remembered.

    • You have some beautiful memories of your grandmother Beverley and it’s wonderful your mother is so on board with her grandmothering role. You are right, these are questions that we should ask ourselves anyway. 🙂

  • My paternal grandmother died in an accident when I was barely 5 months old but I understand she was quite a determined lady having raised 4 sons on her own because my grandfather had a job that involved travel and his Theosophical Society work (he was one of the pillars of that movement).

    My maternal grandmother was a career lady and my earliest memories of her during our visits was her getting the household under control and then running off to office with her folder. This inspired my sister and me to play Office-Office and perhaps influenced us both to choose corporate careers with files and folders. 🙂

    But I also remember her cooking a potato curry that I have tried to replicate but have never gotten that taste again.

    In contrast, my artist mother is the kind of Granny who indulges her grandchild and my nephew loves her because she makes popcorn on demand and visits mean a complete goody fest – pizza, popcorn, unlimited tv, chocolates and playing with Coco. No wonder when he was small, he used to cry when the holidays were over. 🙂

    • I love how you described playing office after watching your grandmother go off to work Vatsala. I am more aware than ever how much those little Goddess eyes watch and copy and it has made me lift my game so much more than I did for my own kids, but I think that’s because the three boys were more focused on wanting to be like their Dad and the little Goddesses are copying all the close female role models in their lives. Such a responsibility! You have beautiful memories. 🙂

  • What a delightful blog. You touched on a topic I have thought a lot about. I didn’t have grandparents growing up & this might have impacted me. I am not a babysitting grandma, but some of our grandkids know how deeply I care about them. Two of our 5 boys were always hard for me to connect with, our 2 girls are treasured. They might all remember me for teaching them how to bead & make jewelry. I always worked or had my business when these kids were born & some live far away- Some wont talk on the phone. I always emphasize the importance of family being together & there for one another & know they are loved.

    • Knowing you are loved is absolutely the most important thing. Next it’s the example and I’m sure your grandchildren will treasure your example of hard work and creativity. 🙂

  • Oh, I recall the wonderful summer vacations spent at my grandparents in the country! They had a small house with one room only and I’d wake up in the wonderful smell of omelet that my sweet grandma was making for me right there.

    Definitely THE things I want my kids to remember me by are: love and support.

  • My grandparents were a huge part of my life and I can vividly remember spending time with them. I know that they loved me. Beautifully written article!

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