It seems that childhood is more complicated now than when I was a child. Social media pressures, electronics, and information overload are all very pervasive. I find myself craving simple, low-key, even ordinary. When I think back to my childhood, two of the first people I think about were my grandmothers. I have a few memories of extraordinary experiences and relationships, but most of my memories are quite ordinary. A persistent, but not frequent, presence is that of my two quite ordinary grandmothers. They liked to cook, garden, and sew. They were pretty quintessential, and amazingly special. My countless memories of my grandmas were quite different from one another, both taught me lessons that now, as a mother, I find myself reflecting upon regularly.
I have such fond memories of playing store at my grandma Moon’s home with my sister, using empty food boxes and an old fashioned type-writer as the cash register. The dutch door to the sun room was the perfect entrance to create wonderful memories. Grandma shared her love by cooking and that was something that we always did together when we visited. I can still taste her cinnamon rolls and deviled eggs, and a visit to grandmas wasn’t complete without Froot Loops. She taught me about showing her love and creating beauty in everything she touched. Her green thumb was inspiring and she brought such beauty through the toiling of her hands. When I think about Grandma Alley, I think of the word “sacrifice.” She had 9 children and is remembered as the hardest working person you would ever meet. Her legacy is one of demonstrating her love through service. My memories of visits with her are filled with Chinese Checkers games, eating caramel rolls, admiring her needlepoint, and looking forward to birthday gifts of rolls of dimes.
My husband and I have seen our parents transition from parents to grandparents. As our children have spent special time with their grandparents, they have begun to create their own versions of ordinary but sweet memories and life lessons. They are teaching them about the beauty of the ordinary. They have had the opportunity to plant potatoes with Papa Mike, go to play groups and bargain hunt with Mamie, play hide and seek with Gigi and Papa, help Grammy make sweet treats, and draw pictures with Papa. We have had a front row seat as we watch our parents (and grandparents) help turn the ordinary into extraordinary. They are passing their legacies of being hard working, loving, and generous with their time on to our children, and we are so very grateful.
We are hoping our children have many more “ordinary to extraordinary” days with their grandparents and great-grandparents in the years ahead. The days where a stick is a sword and adventures are plenty simply with the imagination of a child, and the “ordinary touch” of a grandparent. In a world that seems to be trending toward more and more complicated, we are hoping and praying for our children to crave “ordinary.”