Monday, May 7, 2007

A Drawerful of Decades

I have 'journaled' for years. This past weekend I inherited, from my husband, his old file cabinet. He emptied it and filled up his new one, which is twice the size. I emptied my old one and filled my 'new one' which is also twice the size. The bottom drawer is now full of my old journals, the ones I can't part with. Who is going to read them? Maybe my children or maybe my grandchildren. They won't learn much more about me than they already know, but they will 'see' what I have spent my time thinking about or more likely worrying and praying about.

I have journals dating back to when my son was the age that my granddaughter is now (Four years old). Time surely doesn't stand still, but those pages I wrote are now standing neatly in the notebooks; stacked in nice decades in that bottom drawer.

Being a Nana has made me want to study those journals again. I like to contemplate what I was doing and thinking while I was in my twenties, thirties and forties. I have lots of jottings about how I loved to be with my children and how they were (still are) the most important people, next to my husband, in my life. I also wrote about how I loved doing my "own thing" too. Mostly that included "part-time careers or going to school." Those days though, don't compare to the days of being a grandma. It's almost as if someone turned a light on --- brighter. The perspective is as if I've climbed to an upstairs landing and I can now look down and see the big picture much clearer.

The grand parenting relationship dynamic is much different than parenting. It has the same love flavor but it tastes better. I am able to enjoy it more, savor it ---much more. Parenting is a full-time occupation and no matter what is going on in life--- parents don't clock out. I don't think young parents know the amount of stress they live through until they get through and look back. These days many grandparents are on 'round the clock' care with their grandchildren and essentially reliving that 'stress'. I would hope for them ... that they make time to rest, be alone and have some time to 'play'.

Langston Hughes poem, Mother To Son, is one of my favorites. I think it offers encouragement for those going through tough times and those who have been there.


Mother To Son

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor---
But all the time
I'se been a---climbin' on
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now---
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

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