I SHALL LIVE ON!
My three year old grand daughter came running into my arms, not taking the trouble to remove her unruly curls which streamed down to her sparkling eyes. My sister who had come from abroad after many years remarked laughingly, “Why! Your grand daughter is just like you. Just see how she tosses her head naughtily to remove her locks from her eyes as she peeps from behind them. I just hope she has not inherited your temper”, she said in a teasing tone. On any other occasion, I would not have tolerated such a remark and immediately picked up an argument with my sister, insisting that I was not as bad tempered as she was suggesting! But as she was comparing me to my grand daughter, which in itself was a big compliment for me, I chose to ignore her comments.
As a grandmother, I can find no faults with my grand children as I am simply enchanted with the wonderful things they do, simply forgetting (or trying to forget?) that I scolded or sometimes even punished my children on these very acts! My children had the same endearing habits, played out the same naughty pranks, but at that stage of life, I was so obsessed with the idea of being the perfect mother who was raising the perfect children, I regret to say that I had no time to enjoy their childhood (and the activities which are a part of it). With kids young and all around, the house always bustling with activity, the demands and responsibilities of motherhood were so physically exhausting, I never realized until they had grown up, that it was also a very emotionally fulfilling task.
Having grand children is one of the best things which can happen to us in life. A grandchild is one of God’s greatest gifts, a compensation for the loss of youth. It is like a silver lining to the dark and ominous cloud of old age. When we reach the stage of life when we become grandmothers, life has changed dramatically, as this is the time when we have minimum responsibilities. The strict regime of motherhood over, children grown up, married and independent, we have all the time in the world to spend with our grand children. We spoil them (or ourselves) to our heart’s extent and giving in to their whims is a source of sheer delight for us. In return they give us unconditional love and blind support, accepting us for ourselves as no one in our entire lives has ever done.
Years seem to simply melt down when I interact with my grandchildren. When they want to discuss their problems with me, I do it very seriously. Either I bend down to reach their innocent mental level or hold them high in my arms to let them come up to my mature age. And when they come to me with complaints of (our common enemy) their parents (which is very frequent), for a moment I seem to forget that the said people are my own children. Although, most of the times, I have to keep myself neutral for the sake of diplomacy and discipline, in the heart of my heart I side totally with them, considering my grandchildren the victims and their parents the culprits!
Whether the person I am talking to is interested or bored to death, I can not stop myself from talking about my grandchildren and their activities, whenever and wherever I get the chance to do so. Any achievement by my grandchildren seems to me a personal accomplishment; the praise they receive is like a compliment for me.
A remark by a friend or acquaintance that my grandchildren resemble me in looks or habits is a matter of great pride for me. An anonymous quote which said “Grandchildren are a grandparent’s link to the future, and grandparents are the child’s link to the past” touched my heart. I started to search seriously for traits which my grandchildren had inherited from me and I found some part of myself in each child.
My eldest granddaughter has a quick wit and a sense of humour which keeps her cheerful all the time. She is a born optimist just like me. Her younger sister has inherited my quick temper which flares up at the slightest pretext but cools down as suddenly. My grandson has an insatiable thirst for reading and is found most of the times with a story book while his friends are playing cricket. One grandchild is very disorganized and keeps littering his things all about his room. When he gets a scolding from my daughter in law on not finding his things in time, I am reminded of my childhood days when I was always found hunting for my books, pen, socks, or whatever, much to the chagrin of Ammi.
A few days back I went to visit my daughter. Her youngest, who is still a toddler, was sleeping peacefully, her long eyelashes shadowing her rosy cheeks. “Ammi, she resembles you a lot when she is sleeping. I am sure you looked the same when you were her age”. “I am happy for you my darling”, I quipped back, “Tomorrow when I shall be around no more, she will remind you of me”. When I look at my grand children a sense of content descends upon my heart. They are my link to the future! A little in this one, a bit in the other, after my death I shall continue to live on in my grandchildren!