Monday, April 28, 2014
"For Me? Really?"
Ahh, Mother's Day!
One year, my sisters and I accompanied daddy to the store to help him carefully select a plastic bread box. I was as puzzled as he was when, after a gracious display of gratitude in the presence of her children, mother firmly informed him, behind closed kitchen doors, that a bread box was an unsuitable Mother's Day gift and it was promptly going back to the store. I could never figure that one out. When I became a mommy, I was going to love everything my family gave me. Unconditionally. Utilitarian or not. Things were going to be different!
Despite protests of, "No, no! Save your money! I don't need anything!" from our grandmothers - both the "nice" one and the "unfriendly" one - we dutifully visited each, toting the obligatory rose bush on those annual, special days in May. The "nice one" invited us to the planting ceremony and never failed to point out thereafter how much joy our gift, thriving beneath her talented hand, gave her every day. That part was okay, but still, I wondered. Who on earth would ever say, "Don't buy me any gifts! I don't need anything!" When I became a grandma, things were going to be different! "Gimme, gimme, gimme! See here? - in this catalog? - I want this one, that one and two or three of those!" Yep, when I grew up I was going to "for sure" fix what was wrong with this family of mine!
I live a double bonus now. I'm a mother. And a grandmother. In my recent memory are gifts of cold toast and warm juice on a breakfast-in-bed tray, construction paper cards and a happy little trio of bright purple pansies peeking prettily from - oh no! please! not another! - ceramic mug. I loved it all. Unconditionally. Things were different - at least in that category.
But the "Please don't buy me anything" request? That one, I'm afraid, remains alive. I have all that I need today - hugs and snuggles from grandchildren and gratitude and love from their parents. I'm not going to refuse your bread box or (deliberately, at least) murder your rose bush, but I do revisit with fondness the grand-ladies who clearly made their wishes known so long ago. "Thank you anyway my dears, but I really don't need anything this year!"
Yet, despite my protests, I know that you will buy me something. And so this time I will make things easier for you by telling you exactly what I want.
I want to be remembered. Warmly. Intimately. Respectfully. Of course I want you to relive the fun we had together, but mostly I want you to know who I am. Where I grew up. What things I liked. What things I didn't like. And I want all of that written down in a book. This book.
Stories From My Grandparent flows from page to page in journal format, just waiting for the pen of its own author. Thoughtful prompts make the self-writing of one's personal history an enjoyable, not formidable, task. From early memories at home, ("This is what I've been told about myself as a baby:") through school years, ("These hairstyles and clothing styles were popular with girls:") and beyond, ("As a young family, we struggled with these problems and issues:") this hard cover, spiral bound volume unfolds as the life journey of one very special person. And that person is likely to be someone who "really doesn't need anything" for Mother's Day this year. Except, perhaps, a place like this to come to and relive experiences of the past, knowing that someday those who adore her will relish the words and photos she chose to share from the first page to the last. On that one, number 109, just beyond an entry for "Here is one last bit of advice:" they will find a final message, one tender and touching and so very, very grandmotherly in its perfection - one well worth circling and "smiley-facing"......
"And always remember: I love you!"
Susan Adcox, the author of Stories From My Grandparent is a former English and journalism teacher with a degree in literature from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. For more than five years she has been the Guide to Grandparents on About.com, where she writes about topics ranging from grandparents' rights to board games for kids. She and her husband have three children and seven grandchildren.
Find further details and Amazon ordering information here.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.