I’ve been meditating this morning on the glory and power and the privileges of being a grandmother. There ain’t nothing that beats grandmotherhood! Being Queen of the British Empire comes close, but then you have to wear that heavy bejeweled crown. And people keep bowing to you.
It’s not that I’m a new grandmother; in fact, I’m, indeed, a very old grandmother; my oldest grandchild is 29. But there’s a family Bar Mitzvah coming up and that set me reminiscing about my various grandchildren, five in all. Very few relationships in my life have accorded me as much pleasure, pride, humor, respect, and love.
My grandchildren are singular; indeed, there’s not a twin in the lot. And none of them make terrible puns like their grandma. That’s our family’s major genetic flaw.
My very first grandchild, a captivating imaginative little boy was born while his mother was in medical school and thus he spent the early years of infancy and childhood in a progressive, peace-loving Nursery and Day Care Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts – about as kind and liberal as they come.
But I grew up believing you raised your own kids. So, at first, I had grave doubts about the arrangement (hauling an infant out of his crib early on cold winter mornings, bottles of breast pumped milk, leaving him in the care of strangers all day, bad influences, etc. All this would affect him profoundly, I feared.
But he seemed to be growing and flourishing.
One day, we New Yorkers got to visit him in his day-care sanctuary. We watched him toddle around inventively and brilliantly and do everything better than his contemporaries, of course. We saw one of the day-care people approach him and kneel down beside him. We wanted very much to hear the conversation, so we hastened over and stood silently by. Our grandson was playing with a miniature wooden pull-cart, a really tiny one, a couple of inches in size, pulled by a string. We overheard the entire, intriguing dialogue.
“What do you have there, Ben?” the friendly counselor asked.
“A birdfeeder,” he said joyously. “I’m going to feed all the birdies.” He gave her a beatific smile!
“How kind!” The counselor beamed and patted Ben’s head, and then she turned to us. “What a sweet and gentle grandson you have!” She smiled and started away.
Whereupon, once her back was turned, Ben knelt down and speedily directed his wooden toy so she was its target, and aiming it carefully at her he whispered happily as she went off, “Bang, bang! I shot you dead with my birdfeeder!”
Watching this, I told myself, “Little boys are little boys!”
That day I gave up worrying about day-care!