This Mother’s Day I’ll once again be reminded that I’m a lucky woman. Not everything in my life has gone smoothly – just like everyone else in the world – but I’ve had one thing that’s been pretty amazing. Four generations.
My grandmother will be 98 at the end of May. My mother is on the young end of her 70s. I am 50, and my daughter is 22. There is a connection between the four of us that is the stuff that movies are made about. I could not have been any closer to my grandmother growing up – she is the love of my life. She made everything fabulous, from meatloaf to a trip to the bookstore. Sleeping over at her house was my favorite thing to do. She never grew tired of listening to me or spending time with me. It was magical – and it still is. My mother, in turn, was the star of the show as far as my daughter was concerned. When my mother would arrive at our house for visits, my little girl of three, or nine, or 16 would run out the door to greet her, and they would ignore me for the rest of the afternoon. At every children’s theater, and later show choir performance, my mother waited at the stage door to get my daughter’s autograph on the program. She has saved every single one. My mother will be at my daughter’s college graduation in a few weeks. She is flying across the country just for that moment. It was wonderful- and it still is.
Connection to the women in my family has kept me going so many times in my life. My mother and I have had a 50 year ongoing conversation about, well, just about anything you can imagine. I called her 15 minutes after the birth of my daughter. The doctor thought I was a little crazy. My grandmother took care of me after both of my children were born – she came to stay for three weeks of cooking, cooing, chatting and coddling. It was heavenly. My daughter and I talk every single day, multiple times some days. It’s not inappropriate or intrusive – it’s just how we are.
I used to think that things didn’t really happen to me until I told my mother about them. I don’t think that anymore, but I still want her to hear about it all.
I visited my grandmother in Atlanta last month. I sat in her room with her and we chatted – she likes to talk – and then she would doze off. She’s 98, and she gets tired easily. While she napped I would sit and look at her and just be glad to be with her, in her room, in her little apartment, surrounded by her things – things I remember from my childhood, things that make me feel safe. She has always made me feel safe.
When my daughter was a toddler, my mother and grandmother and I would take her to the mall to go shopping. It’s always been one of our favorite activities. Everywhere we went my mother or my grandmother would tell anyone who would listen, “we’re four generations!” At the time, I thought it was kind of embarrassing. Why would anyone care? I’m not embarassed anymore. Now I’m happy to tell anyone about us.
Four generations. It’s been a gift.