Who cares about grandparents!
This post came out of a discussion on Facebook about Harry Wales ‘apparently’ (according to the media), avoiding a further discussion with his grandmother, the Queen, before delivering his statement on his family’s future.
So I googled the word ‘grandparent’. It dates from the nineteenth century, no surprises there then – when Victorian manners and sentiment provided a foundation for how we would live in the twentieth century.
But even diverse cultures back through centuries revered their elders and still do. Something I don’t just find mildly endearing. Instead, immensely powerful.
From the same source: “Grandparents are a valuable resource because they have so many stories and experiences from their own lives to share. Oftentimes children will listen to grandparents, even when they are not listening to their parents or other adult. Grandparents also offer a link to a child’s cultural heritage and family history.”
Therein lies my husband’s and my own experience and that of our children (now adults in their 30’s and 40’s). My paternal grandparents died before I reached 4 but I can vaguely remember books and dogs and carry that love to this day.
My maternal grandmother died a little later in my life, but I remember softness, a floral pinafore, feeding the chickens and loving the garden.
My maternal grandfather was singlehandedly the patriarch and we had the life and times of Swallows and Amazons, thanks to him. He was old-fashioned and opinionated, but not above taking me into his bed one night when babysitting, when I had a terrible nightmare. He was a kind man and always donated to those less fortunate. As a funeral director, he always maintained that at the final countdown, every man was equal.
Mind you, being ‘of an era’, he could never understand why I went to university. ‘All you’ve got to learn is how to boil water, duck,’ he said. He also saved me from blood poisoning when a shell pieced my heel and went septic. He always carried a gladstone bag filled with the most aromatic powders and unguents and he doctored my foot and leg for weeks and the mess gradually receded. He also said ‘As long as you’re alive with those legs, duck, your grandmother’ll never be dead!’ (I have very muscly calves!)
My husband’s grandparents were the stuff of family legend. Settlers in a Victorian farming district. Strong women left to survive on their own with husbands dying young. Fabulous humour, great dedication and love for their families. Granny must have known she was going to die that day. She walked into the village and paid her bills, had morning tea with her close friends, walked home to the farm, rang my mother-in-law on the next door farm to say she felt unwell and died in my M-I-L’s mini on the way to the doctor’s. My husband adored her and has acquired her quiet strength and his other grandmother’s humour. Good stock for our own children.
Our own parents were absolute backbones for our children and provide a wonderful memory-bank and were rocks when the kids needed them. On the one hand, farming stock giving our kids love of country and agriculture. On the other, love of the sea and all things maritime, of seeking knowledge and books. My mother outlived the other G-P’s by many years and she became the Wailing Wall, the brick, the strength that my own children could emulate as they strode forth into a world that was changing daily. Right to the last, my children would spend hours talking to their grandmother, listening to her stories and advice.
And they sat with her as she faded away on her last night.
My husband and myself are now grandparents.
I want to be to my little fellow what our grandparents were to us – in every way I can be. To date, he shows inordinate love and affection for us.
So trusting as he puts his little hand in ours, loving as he reaches up for a cuddle in secure arms.
We have a lot to teach him, a lot of hard-won wisdom to impart.
So yes, I do believe that any good grandparent has a significant role to play in children’s lives whether they are royal or not. And I finish with this quote: (the whole post is worth reading if you have any idea that you too might be a grandparent one day)
“A child’s perspective of what constitutes a healthy, normal relationship is shaped by the relationship that he or she holds with a grandparent. Through regular contact, a sense of emotional intimacy, and unwavering support, children can experience what a true, positive relationship should look like…” https://www.wilmingtonparent.com/family/five-reasons-why-grandparents-are-so-important/