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Grandma, me, and mami

Grandma, me, and mami

I come from a hard working single mother who had me at the age of 40. My mother an accountant major in Ecuador cleaned houses when we moved to United States. I stayed every day with my grandmother who we lived with. My grandmother wasn’t the nicest lady. She was straight to the point, very blunt, didn’t care if she hurt your feelings, a man hater and was very bossy. My mother since as early as she could work took care of my grandmother. I believe my grandmother only worked once in her lifetime. Not sure how my mother became so independent and a slave to my grandmother but since I was young that’s how it was. My mother an only child, so strong and always yearned for a large family but found herself single and only with me as her only child. She has only shown me love my entire life, she said she didn’t want to be like her mother who was never a loving mother. My grandmother was deprived of love from her early childhood. She was the middle child, both her sisters got to marry the man they chose but my grandmother had an arranged marriage. You can only imagine how horrible she must of felt. I was also told that she did like another boy but she was forced to marry my grandfather. My grandfather was twice her age, he was a telegrapher, didn’t make much. Not sure how much damage he caused but I do know is that as soon as my mother became of age, she took my grandmother away with her and moved away. My mother kinda saved my grandmother from an unhappy marriage and perhaps that’s why she has always been the leader, the provider for both of them.

Anyways, back to my childhood. I don’t recall my grandmother every playing with me, she didn’t like kids, she didn’t really like anyone. She was angry inside and could never seem to find happiness but I do know she loved me and took good care of me. My mom always protected me from her, not that she was abusive but my mom made sure that she would never lay a finger on me. Thank god I was a quite kid, and always kept to myself, and just drew pictures in my alone time. I recall my grandmother piercing my ears, I must of been 4. My mother was outraged but I guess it was ok since I needed earrings. I know my grandmother loved me in her own ways. And when she passed away, my heart did hurt for losing her and not spending enough time with her. I remember her telling me stories of how she helped her cousin get a house after she got a divorce from her husband who use to beat her when he was drunk. My grandmother also seemed to be savior to women who didn’t have a voice. Maybe because she felt she was also strong in her own way and didn’t want other women to be taken advantage of by a man. She somehow got involved with the city and had to fight for her cousin’s rights, I don’t recall so well, it’s kinda a blur but it made me smile that at least she did do some good deeds in her life that I wasn’t aware of. 

My grandmother was born in 1918. She died at age 84 or 85, can’t remember. And I will never forget seeing her pass in hospice. When I stared at her, so lifeless, so bare to the bones, I could see myself in her. I could see my bone structure was like hers and the more I looked at her the more I felt I looked like her more than my own mother. I cried but felt relieved that my mother finally would be free from taking care of her and could now live her life her own way. 

When I was dating my husband his grandmother on his dad side was alive and he’s grandmother on his mother side was alive. When I met them they were both so sweet, so caring, and so different from my grandmother. Both very old and getting to the point of losing their memories, etc. His grandmother had the biggest smile, the warmest heart and from all the stories I hear she was an amazing polish cook! My grandmother was too a good cook but stop cook after the age of 80. I couldn’t understand why my husband had no desire to spend any time with his grandmother or grandfather. A few months ago his grandmother passed away. I went to the memorial service which was filled with so many wonderful stories how this woman was not only their grandmother but their best friend. I cried because through all their stories, I also felt like I had gotten to know her more than I did. I wondered how it must feel to lose someone so special and close like that. It reminded me of some of the ladies on my facebook page that periodically posts how much they miss their nana, etc. My husband’s grandfather is still alive, though he was suppose to pass away last year since he was diagnosed with liver cancer but he’s still kicking and living a healthy life. He lives far from us but if he lived closer I would go visit him very often. He was in WWII and flew one of the most powerful war planes! He’s the sweetest and so caring man! I feel so envious for my husband who had wonderful grandparents but I feel like he doesn’t appreciate their love or existence the way he should. I’m not sure if this is an American thing but I do know that grandparents should be cherished no matter what culture you come from. They have so much history, knowledge, and love for you!

I feel lucky though because all the benefits they say you can earn as a grandchild, I have learn from my mother. She has always been such a wonderful example of a good person, a brave person, who has taught me to be grateful for everything I have in my life, to respect others as I would like to be treated, and to never lose faith. 

According to a September 2012 research by MetLife Mature Market Institute and the nonprofit Generations United, titled The MetLife Study on How Grandparents Share Their Time,Values, and Money, they found 74 percent of respondents provide weekly babysitting services for their grandchildren. These strong relationships and bonds that both grandparents and grandchildren share showed can help provide long term benefits in life for both parties.

Grandparents feel self-worth by staying in touch with grandkids, overall improving their health. The research showed that elders can show valuable lessons to youngsters such as:

EMPATHY: TEACHING THEIR GRANDKIDS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE THINGS THEY HAVE AND THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM. This lesson is so valuable in today’s society where we take everything for granted, even our freedom.

FAMILY HISTORY: THEY CAN SHARE STORIES OF FAMILY MEMBERS THROUGH OLD PHOTOS OR WATCHING OLD MOVIES, GIVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRANDKIDS TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR OWN FAMILY TREE.

INTERESTS: CHILDREN CAN LEARN NEW SKILLS OR HOBBIES THAT THEIR GRANDPARENTS ARE INTO LIKE WOODWORK, COOKING, GARDENING, AND EVEN SHARE SOME FAMILY RECIPES.

RESPECT: GRANDKIDS WHO GROW UP RESPECTING THEIR GRANDPARENTS WILL TEND TO RESPECT AUTHORITY FIGURES OUTSIDE OF THEIR HOMES, WHICH WILL HELP THEM GROW UP TO BE MORE COURTEOUS AND KIND TO OTHERS. 

Grandparents also benefit from a strong relationships with their grandkids by having companionship in their lives, having new experiences and conversations can help maintain their minds stay sharp and bodies active as they enter their golden years.

Research by MetLife

 

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