“Listen to your inner grandmother. She’s got a little more wisdom than your inner child.” Loretta LaRoche, in Life is Not a Stress Rehearsal.
I often read things that impress me or move me or encourage me (for a moment), but way too often I move on to the next thing and that moment is lost. I read this some months back and started to blog about it, stopped right after the first sentence, but saved it as a draft. The good news about that is, it stayed on my blog posting page to keep reminding me of its wisdom. Today seems a good day to reflect on it again.
I never had the benefit of grandparents: my maternal grandfather died in 1915 (my mother was 19 months old); my maternal grandmother died in 1922 (my mother was not quite 8); my paternal grandmother died in 1938 (my dad was an adult but it was still before I was born); my paternal grandfather died in 1941 (although I had been born, I was too young to know him).
I suppose most people who don’t get to experience grandparents at least have the benefit of the trickle down effect of whatever training their parents received in their childhood but, though both my parents were decent, loving people, daddy left home by the time he was 16 because he apparently didn’t like or respect his father very much. He apparently loved his mother a great deal (according to his sister, it was reciprocal), but he felt a strong need to get away from the negative aspects of his home. He never spoke of his parents and rarely spoke of his siblings either.If there were aspects of wisdom passed down from his parents/grandparents, I was unaware of what they might be. I imagine most people would have assumed daddy lived out of his inner child, and they may well have been right.
Although mother provided an incredibly supportive environment for my early years, she seemed to sometimes operate at the emotional threshold of time of her mother’s death (approximately 8 years old) – in other words, she sometimes lived out of her inner child rather than her inner grandmother because she never had one of those either (maternal grandmother left and apparently died in the late 1800s; maternal grandfather died in 1912; paternal grandmother died in 1896 and paternal grandfather died in 1916 – six years before she moved to Virginia where he was from). Most of the trickle-down effect I received came from the movies my mother loved so much – love was idealized, people burst into song frequently and danced on the streets, cleaned house in high heels, makeup and, sometimes, with white gloves on, and generally things worked out nicely by the end of 90 minutes.
So, the question blares at me: How do I develop an inner grandmother on my own? I certainly don’t have all the answers but I can suggest seeking out (and listening to) wise people, reading a lot, reflecting on and setting goals from the wisest things I cull from each day’s experiences (that includes chance comments, news reports, movies, books, sermons, relationships with friends and acquaintances or teachers, preachers, writers, etc.)
I would suppose I’m fortunate because most of those come pretty naturally to me. A man I dated many years ago (about 25) said to me, “You were born wise.” I laughed because no one had ever said such a thing to me before and because I know I live a lot out of my inner child – and that’s not all bad (the inner child allows us to enjoy the moment and look forward to the future in the face of ‘real’ life). Additionally, I know none of us are actually born wise – we have to work at assimilating and applying each day’s wisdom until we do amass a little bit of that inner grandmother to guide us.
Bottom line is: cultivate, develop and listen to your inner grandmother, but by all means, take time to enjoy your inner child as well.