Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hip Hip Hurrah for Grandparents!

An Australian study has shown something that does not surprise me one bit - that grandparents boost childhood development.

My grandparents played important roles in my life - my maternal grandmother was the sweetest and most helpful person. Not only did she babysit, she ironed my clothes, mended my clothes, and made the very best cream of wheat (no, my mother's cream of wheat never tasted as good as Grandma's.) My grandad took me with him to the postoffice and to his furniture store. From the time I was very young, he took me with him to the farm, the ranchland, and even his rental business. I learned so much from being with hi. He taught me to drive. He "doctored" my cuts. And he always told me he would "fight like a tiger" for me.

My paternal grandmother was soft and gentle. She always told me I was her only granddaughter . . . she always made me feel special. I have a lot of memories of the Amarillo bus station, because frequently I would have my visit with her as she was riding the bus between Lubbock (where she lived) and Borger where her grandsons lived. They got to spend more time with her because my parents were divorced and sometimes my Grandma Marshall lived with my cousins. Even though I never saw her teach Ladies' Bible Class, I feel that the Bible teaching I have done is one of her legacies to me somehow. She was one special lady.

My children grew up far away geographically from their grandparents, but I made sure their grandparents were a part of their lives. Each summer we spent almost 2 weeks in Amarillo. Grandma Melton always had ice cream and ice cream cones for the kids. Grandpa Melton taught them a love of fishing. My mother instilled in them a love of the land, a background in agriculture, and she tried ever so hard to teach them the importance of taking care of your financial business. Both sets of grandparents remembered birthdays and sent cards on all those special occasions. Phone calls were also an important part of our lives in maintaining this special relationship with the grandparents.

Henry's Grandmother Wheeler always had a pumpkin pie ready for us when we came back to Amarillo to visit. Henry has memories of the gardens that Grandpa Wheeler had at their Arden Road House.

I don't have grandchildren yet - and I refuse to put that kind of pressure on my kids. But I've been watching the people around me who have grandchildren for many years. If I'm ever lucky enough to become a grandmother, I want to be one of the people that is important in their lives.

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