This morning as I sat working on my latest quilting project, my oldest son sent me a picture of his latest purchase – a Ruger rifle. We have a history in guns. My dad and mom owned a sporting goods store for 30 years. I worked there for eleven, selling guns, which was never something I aspired to do when I grew up, but it gave me a place to work and still be a mom to my young children. They accompanied me to work or got off the bus there after school. They closed the business in 1998, but I had grown to love guns, and my oldest son is still a gun lover.
My father passed away in 2012, but my mother, his partner in business and the love of guns, is still alive. I told my son he should share his purchase with his grandma. Although she doesn’t shoot anymore, due to failing eyesight and an aging body, the memories made through the business and her love of a good competition live on.
As I fed another strip of fabric through the sewing machine, I thought about how much a part of my children growing up, my mother was. She was there whenever I couldn’t be. She fixed them meals, taught my daughter all about plants, picked them up from school and did many motherly things for them. We lived next door, so she was their second mom.
When I was growing up, we lived next door to my father’s parents. We ran through the field to her house many days of the week to be fed popcorn and root beer and chocolates. Grandma played Tijuana Brass, as we ran around in circles to the music in her living room. She mended holes in our jeans and showed us how to milk a cow.
I thought about how when I got old enough to drive, I didn’t go see Grandma like I used to. I was too busy. And I realized the same thing happened with my kids – they grew up and didn’t need their grandmas like they did when they were little. Yet, they still keep their connection to me – their primary and birth mother, calling at least once a week, and (before the pandemic) visiting whenever possible.
I’m a grandma now. I was blessed with instant grandmotherhood when my oldest son married Bethany, who had two children, ages three and seven, from her previous marriage.
They live an hour and a half away, and spent every other weekend with their other dad, so their visits were not as frequent as I would have loved. They came up and spent the weekend as much as possible, rode ATVs, shot their bows, walked through the woods, gathered rocks, got shooting lessons from my son, and helped bake cookies.
I feel we have a special bond, and they know I am here if they need me. They’re 15 and 20 now.
My youngest son and his fiancé have blessed us with two beautiful little granddaughters.
They live less than a mile away, and my son and husband run a business together, so we see them almost daily. They are a huge part of our life, and I think we are a huge part of theirs. We are the balance for them. When their parents are tired and worn down from crying babies, constant needs and the demands that young children put on them, we are there to step in and give the children the patient attention that they need and to give their parents a break. We can do all the things we wished we would have done differently with our children and offer the wisdom that we have gained over the years.
Since writing this first part, I had a phone conversation with my oldest son. I was discussing this and he said he thinks that the grandparents being so involved is more of a “small town” thing. I said maybe it’s a rural thing. What do you think? Proximity is obviously a factor.
I wish I would have had the knowledge and experience I have now, and that I would have made it a point to stop and see my grandma more after I got older. Just because I didn’t really need her anymore, I never thought about that she might need me.
Such is life. The big circle. I’m living in the now, but prepared for what the future will inevitably bring. I’m counting on that my grandchildren will carry a part of what I have given them in their hearts and that they will always know how much I love them and that I am here whenever they need me.