Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What's In A Name?

What's in a name?
We were sitting on the floor in front of the dollhouse when the 3 year old turned to me and said, “You're my old grandma.”
“I am?” I said.
“Yes, and boring, too,” she answered.
It's true. I'm a quiet person. Compared to her other grandma – a woman who brings fun into any room she enters – I probably seem a little boring to my granddaughter, and old, too.
If I stop to worry about it too much, I could develop a pretty good complex.
I won't though, because I think grandmas should work together for the good of their mutual grandchild.
As a child, one of my grandmothers often explained that she and grandpa just didn't give presents the way my other grandma did – they didn't have that kind of money.
I never counted presents or noticed any disparity until she brought it up. Even then it didn't matter to me.
But that subtle competition meant my two grandmothers usually were not easily comfortable in one another's company. Often there was a subtle, curious tension when we were all together.
As a child, I thought I must have done something wrong – maybe I seemed too greedy. Maybe I appeared to love my gift-giving grandmother more.
What I didn't understand was that it was more about my grandmother's feelings of inadequacy than it was about me.
Kids always think it's all about them.
That's why it's important for us to establish and maintain good relationships with extended family members, and why it's important not to take our grandchild's comparisons too seriously.
How much better it is for adults in a family to behave like adults so the children in a family don't have to!
My granddaughter's other grandma - the fun, young one - is a really neat person. I've been lucky to get to know her. She brings things to my granddaughter's life that bless and enrich her – so how could I complain about that?
Now I just need to convince my granddaughter that old and boring is really just mature and quiet, and that there is nothing wrong with that.

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