Eliza Grace was born on March 15, 2006, at 26 weeks, 4 days, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces and measuring just 11.5 inches long. She is the light of my soul and this is the story of our life in the big city.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Between

My mother is 89 and Eliza is almost 6.  They are both deeply loved and cherished.  And they can both be a handful.

Luckily, I have 2 hands.

There seem to be certain genetic traits that have passed from grandmother to granddaughter.  They are both, shall we say, stubborn, perhaps set in their ways, often very, very certain they are absolutely right and they share a deep seated dislike of the medical profession (although each oddly has one doctor they actually like, but just one each).  

Trying to care for both of them can be, well, trying at times.  I am pretty much midway in age between my mother and Eliza (OK, well a tad closer to my mother's age, but let's not quibble). I've never liked the phrase "sandwich generation" but I suppose it applies.  The type of sandwich depends on the day.  Some days things are going smoothly and it's a nice crunchy messy BLT that I can sit back and enjoy.  Other days it is more of a sticky peanut butter (no jelly) sandwich and it is all one can do to hold those two pieces of bread together.

Some people question my choices for Eliza when it comes to how she spends her free time and suggest she would benefit from classes or sporting activities on the weekends.  Rather than join a gym class or take swimming lessons on the weekends, we spend time with my mother.  To me it is more important that Eliza get to know her grandmother and spend time with her now.  While none of knows when the end is near, as mother points out, at 89 years old you can do some basic math :)  I think it is also healthy for my mom to have Eliza near her.  The change in my mom's spirit is almost visible as Eliza sits on her lap explaining the intricacies of the world of fire and water Pokemon or teaching my mother how to use an iPad.  Watching the iPad lessons alone is worth foregoing some Saturday ballet lessons.

So the next time you want to get all cranky on me that Eliza isn't learning team spirit by playing soccer on the weekends, remember that she is learning compassion by helping her Nana get her cane and empathy by comforting her Nana when she doesn't feel well.  Eliza is learning that the older generation is not to be cast aside and forgotten, but rather to be loved and cherished.  And she is learning that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  Just ask her Nana who knows all about Pokemon.


Leaping Hurdles said...

So beautiful! And yes, they are each blessed by having the other in her life. You are wonderful for remembering what is important in life.

Jennifer said...

Anne, I agree 100% with you! Eliza will learn more in one hour with your mother than 10 hours in a gym class. Balance, grace, poise, compassion...all with someone who loves her dearly. I take Tate to play with his grandparents almost every single weekend. And it brings such joy to my heart to watch my parents, especially my father, simply watch and enjoy Tate that we often just hang out in the house playing. There is plenty of time in the next 20 years for our kids to spend time with non-family members. Enjoy!

Jo said...

As always, thoughtful and poignant. And, I agree completely.

When my mema was given 3 months to live, the girls and I basically moved in with she and my mother. I wouldn't have been anywhere else - for me, and for them.

They were only 2.5 at the time - but they still remember things from being with her and at least a few times a week one of them will say, "I miss Mema" or ask to pray for her.

You can take ballet at any time in your life. There's only so much time in one's young life to teach, learn and live compassion. One witnessed, experienced and lived - it will never be forgotten.

You are giving Eliza the greatest gift ever.

Jo said...

ugggh - "her, her and my mother" not she...I'm my only grammar police.

Wendy LeBolt said...

People have shared this wisdom with me: "people may not remember what you did, but they'll remember how you made them feel." Something about spending time helping someone feel loved is, well, timeless. May it bear much fruit in all of your lives.

Great way to spend the weekends! And this, spoken by a dedicated soccer coach :)

For everything there is a season.

Laraf123 said...

I absolutely agree with you. (And you put it so eloquently--thank you for sharing these precious moments.)

Bridie said...

I agree, family is the MOST important thing. There is always time for the other stuff. I was very close to my grandparents, my grandfather especially. I had to cancel my first date with my now-husband at the last minute because I was driving 3 hours to see my grandmother when they thought she might have had some sort of heart issue (turns out it was just pluresy, but whatever). We're lucky that the boys have several great grandparents still around, and I can't imagine not seeing them every weekend.

Mama Miya said...

great post...she will always remember those weekends!

Sarah said...

Personally, I want to spend time with your mom. She sounds like a firecracker :)

BusyLizzyMom said...

The time she has with her Grandma right now is priceless and I would spend every extra minute she has with your Mom. So many people do not have the opportunity/blessing to have a grandma.
These times she has will be cherished forever by her.

BodieP said...

YES! I absolutely agree! What the heck is wrong with us, regimenting our kids through their lives? My kid has never taken a weekend class in his life--we spend weekends hanging out, playing video games, sleeping in, going to the movies, cooking brownies, and having friends come over for sleepovers (he does--I don't). I kept him out of school for an extra year before kindergarten because it just seemed to me that one you start school you never again have unstructured time to play, explore the world, nap, and know the true meaning of eternity (it's the time between when your mom says she's going to take you swimming and the time you actually leave for the pool). Giving my son opportunities is important to me--he went to brass camp last summer, does a daycamp in the summers, and does sports. But when family comes to visit he gets a day off from school to play with cousins, hang with aunts or grandmas--whatever. Family's important. So is free time.

Barb said...

This is awesome. Sorry I'm so late to catch up, but I love this post! I'm with you. We take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with Grandma, and it's good for all of us. My mother isn't near 90 (only 69) but my father died at 66 and I know how fleeting and precious life is and how important those memories and relationships are. Much, much more important than ballet!