”Leaning In” to My Granddaughter

grandkids-blogsizeThis Grandma did not have the privilege of knowing her grandparents, who were all killed before she was born. Knowing lots of Grandmas now, and always seeking grandma lessons from the grandmas I know, I am learning that I missed much more by not having grandparents in my life than I previously realized.

I missed the unconditional love and absolute adoration that only grandparents give their grandchildren. I missed having grandparents to tell me that I was the most wonderful thing in the world. I missed having grandparents to expose me to that Grandma feeling of being most important and special, the self
confidence of knowing you are the center of the universe and the universe is open to you.

I make it my responsibility to make sure each of my grandchildren know how special he or she is. Somehow, as a woman, knowing what I missed, I spend especially more time and effort with my only precious granddaughter.

My granddaughter is just like her mother in most ways. Of course, she is at the top of her class in many subjects. She is pretty, smart, friendly, kind, and popular. She is also shy in many ways and, like her mother, shies away from compliments. I see the eyes and smile of the Mona Lisa when I look at her and have shown her pictures of the painting. Unlike most of our family, she is also very athletic. My granddaughter excels at tennis, on a winning team, and one of the youngest on the team. She plays basketball and soccer on community teams as well. Winning is important to her and it is irrelevant whether the opponent is a boy or a girl.

Having an older brother, she likes sports as a spectator as well and she is most comfortable around boys. Boys are driven to her as a moth to a flame. At six, she is on her second boyfriend. My granddaughter was so kind to her first boyfriend when she told him she just wanted to be friends. What does that mean at age six, I wonder. Where did she gain such insight and maturity, I wonder.

My granddaughter is a leader in whatever she does. She is a magnanimous winner. Of course, I am prejudiced. It is my job as Grandma to be prejudiced. Who, except me, with unconditional adoration, is going to outright tell my granddaughter she is a leader. Who, except me, with unconditional love, is
going to help my granddaughter feel like she will be a leader in our society. After all, her Grandma blazed trails in a man’s world and she at six is blazing trails in what is likely to be a woman’s world.

Even as a long distance grandma, I make every effort to be at as many of her games and events as I can. I have learned the language of this generation, “good job.” When we were parents we learned to compliment the work, not the person and now that saying is omnipresent. I try to do more than the current norm. I try to be specific and complimentary and cuddling and loving. When a visit is coming to an end, we kiss and hug as many times as the number of days to our next visit.

Thank you , Sheryl Sandberg, for teaching me the new language and goals for a woman in this next generation to “lean in” for me to use to pass on to my granddaughter. I know she will be a leader in whatever she chooses to pursue. I want my special Grandma unconditional love and absolute adoration that is in my soul to be part of her soul. When she is an adult, I hope the joy I feel having her in my life will transfer to granddaughter self confidence knowing that her joy brings this Grandma ultimate Grandma.



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