I was standing in line at the supermarket, waiting for my turn; I had put her down in the top part of the cart, where she sat quietly, holding (or rather clutching) the brown bag with our bagels, as I had asked her to do. The lady ahead of me looked at us and smiled and said “She is sooooo cute!” and the cashier said “What’s your name, sweetie?”
I answered “Her name is Marcelle and I am the grand-mother. She is only two years old yet but she is such a joy. Children are a true gift!” and they both laughed and said I was right. It was a blessed moment of sharing. Of course, it is entirely possible they also laughed because they had only asked for her name and not a quick assessment of my life story…
But the happiness that grandparenthood is bringing me can’t help but spill over – fairly regularly. One very interesting point about getting older is that you can see more clearly the crucial steps in your life and go straight to what is essential. Thirty years ago, when I became a mother, I realized how important it was to me: it truly changed my life, it greatly broadened my horizon, it made me grow in a most wonderful and unexpected manner. Although you can hear about these huge development moments from other people, and you can read all the books you want, once you actually go through them, it makes a profound impact on us. I loved being a mother!
I remember once when my daughter came to pick me up at the end of a Catholic Conference in Anaheim, years ago, and how I told her, buoyed by a very inspiring week-end, that my love for her was the beginning of my love for God, and how she got that familiar look on her face “Here comes the wise old one with her profound statements”. I can completely understand her and see why she would have preferred for me to say “Wow, your hair looks great today!”…
Looking back on my life, I can see a sort of reversed domino effect and if being a grandmother and being a mother are steps 3 and 2, the very first critical step was falling in love and getting married. This was the first experience of caring about someone else more than myself, this was the true beginning of inner growth. It’s all about love! And it’s all linked together. And as I’m growing older – and weaker – I certainly appreciate some things more than others, and I want to cling to what is essential just like Marcelle clung to our bagels the other day.
All I can say is Vive la famille et vive les enfants!
Michele Szekely @2015