Part 10: Life is Complete through Grandchildren
Submitted by admin on Sat, 02/18/2012 – 16:44
Today I cleaned out my 1980s version of a train case, called a Caboodle. It was given by my grandma Laub as a birthday present and there is certainly no object I have used more than this, nearly every day for 20 years plus. I think she would like that, not only for the functionality but because she was a high-heel, red-lipstick, train-case kind of woman. Like I want to be. That’s not where our bond ends. She loved heaps of garden flowers, elegant table settings, and multi-layered cakes on crystal pedestals. We share my mother and our love for her is the link between us. From her husband, Grandpa Laub, I got an affinity for ledgers—oh how I love spreadsheets—and I inherited my other grandparents’ sunny outlook. Grandma Anderson taught me to make Chicken Dumpling Soup (capitalized like the name of a family member), and they contributed another gardening gene.
I am sure my mom wanted all those things, but with seven children and a growing business she just didn’t have time, not until she retired anyway. Add to it that my dad couldn’t have cared less for all that superfluous stuff. If you could not eat it he would not bother; esthetics were a non-priority. Probably because he snubbed this stuff, I wanted it.
It makes me think how all of us are rebellious against our parents to an extent, wanting to leave on our mark on the world. Was there any teenager who did not shrink in embarrassment at mom and dad at one time or another? Being a parent is such a hard job with the irony that teenagers crave unconditional approval while outwardly rejecting their folks. We love our parents beyond words, but still try to be separate from them. I can imagine how my mom and dad wondered if any of what they wanted to teach their kids would stick. There is no doubt in my mind that it did. Their amazing grandchildren are the proof.
Parents can know the job is complete—indeed, that life is complete—through their grandchildren. Kids rebel against their parents and in so doing look for an ally in Grandma or Grandpa. Golden ribbons run through families, weaving under the fabric in the second generation and shining on top again in the third. Grandparents adore us and we want to be just like them. We do learn from our parents, though, especially how to parent. So even as we rebel, we pass their best stuff to our children. Perhaps it is too soon to measure our lives through our kids; we must wait to see how grandchildren pick up the beautiful threads.
This posterity may be the greatest testament of any human.