Thursday, November 8, 2012

Grandmas Everywhere!

I have had some great ideas about grandmothers lately. I don't know why it's grandmother and and not all grandparent specific, so I can't spend any time explaining that.   I was thinking that we should get as many grandmothers as possible, the kind of grandmothers who can look at youth and make them feel really guilty about every bad thing they've ever done.... The kind of grandmothers that no one wants to disappoint. The kind of grandmothers who cook treats for kids, and calls them pet names, and loves being around them. And then all these grandmothers need to work in our schools. Tons of them. At the high school, when you eat lunch in the cafeteria, there will be a grandma at every table.

‎... Oh, there's more...

I think what the kids in our district need, most of the kids, is respect for their elders, respect for human history, someone to love them, someone to be proud of them, and someone to make them think about what they're doing, before they do IT... Those were my grandparents.

I lied to my grandmother ONCE, and I will never forget it. I still feel guilty about it. She found out like nobody's business immediately. She knew I was lying. I was a teenager. Oh, it still gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Kids need that sometimes.  There is that healthy fear that's good for kids to have and too few have it. I mean just guilty because they disappointed grandma, not that the grandmas would ever say anything negative to the kids. Only positive grandmas are allowed, who have lots of life lessons, and say things like, "You can't squeeze blood out of turnips," and, "A penny for your thoughts," and, "Don't take any wooden nickels."

Grandmas used to volunteer at the elementary schools, in the library and classroom.  Grandmas on the bus.  Grandmas everywhere.

My husband and I have twins, Michael and Stella, who will be entering Kindergarten this fall.  I know the district's schools have been under scrutiny lately, but I believe we have some great teachers at Elm Hill.  I was thinking about my own elementary school education, and how many volunteers were in our classrooms and in the lunch room.  Most parents were working, but grandparents would come in and read with kids, or sit with us at lunch and help us with our juice boxes.  We would take nature walks, and there were always lots of hands to hold onto.  I remember a very nurturing and loving environment at Central Elementary back in the 1980's, when I was young.

When I visit my own grandmother, Topsy Barry of Bellows Falls, (who lost her husband, and my beloved Grampy John, last spring), she says her greatest joy is spending time with her great-grandkids. She said, "I want to see them as much as possible."  Her advice and thoughts on parenting are still the most helpful to me, above all else.  She is 85.  Hugs from the twins light her up.

A year ago, in a very sad series of events, Sam's parents and grandmother completely cut my children out of their lives.  They don't inquire about them, or wish to see them.  I understand the enormous role my great-grandmother, Stella O'Connor, and my Nanny and Grampy had in my life.  They influenced who I became as an adult.  I am a teacher because of my Grandfather, John Barry. I understand the loss my children are experiencing, without caring grandparents, even though they will never understand or know any different.