Grandma Issues

I know we all suffer from some sort of issue. Some of us have trust and intimacy issues, some have daddy issues, money issues, control issues. There are a host to choose from. I myself suffer from quite a lot of issues. (Sometime more than I care to admit or discuss!)  Some are in control and some get away from me sometimes, but are all these issues bad for us? I don’t always think so..

I lost my favorite grandmother when I was 12 and have never really recovered from her death. She was my safe place. In a world that was often scary and confusing, her home was the one place I always felt safe and always welcome. (Except for the one Christmas my parents hid our big present from Santa in my grandparent’s living room and I was turned away and was broken hearted for days, until of course, I saw the present.) I don’t remember feeling any kind of misconnection with my grandparents at all nor the lively senior citizens they were friends with.. As a matter of fact for a while there, it was in their company that I felt I could be myself. My grandmother went to great lengths to make me feel special and when she left this earth, I was one lost kid. As a result, I seem to seek those in the “older” generation to have a place in my life.

Last week my husband and I had dinner with a couple who are friends with my in-laws. They have been around for ages and are definitely part of the family. We sat at our kitchen table eating overcooked pot roast (stupid crock pot!) and sugar cream pie for hours. Way past everyone’s bedtime. But the conversation kept going without a break. Lively discussions of past adventures, current issues, future travels and lots of wisdom from a couple who can really see and get the dynamics of this family which aren’t always easy to follow. They both went to great lengths to let us know they think we are special and are truly happy for us. It was a lovely evening I hope to repeat again and again.

I was walking to work this morning and was thinking about last week and had to smile as I think about the people I have chosen to surround myself with. Although I have lots of close friends my age, I have several “older” gal pals too.. I know age is really a state of mind and my “mature” pals know that too. It is one of the reasons we connect so well, but each of these women give me some perspective in my life that I think is lacking is some my age, including myself. They have been there, done that, learned from it and pass on their wisdom in a loving and caring way. Their caring and concern doesn’t come from a place of control or manipulation. Their advice is loving and genuine. The goal is simply to assist you to get to the next step.

A perfect example is my amazing friend B. 2 years ago I made a huge decision that really rocked my world and changed my life and the relationships I had formed (and with no dramatic tendencies I can say) forever. Many that I loved, cared for and supported turned their back on me because they did not agree with what I was doing and why. B stood by me. Not because she agreed with my decision (she didn’t) but simply because she loved me. She went against her husband and many of those we had mutual relationships with to stand by my side and say, “I love this woman.” It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. I miss her very, very much and hope she knows how much I appreciate what she has done for me and the example of friendship and love it has set for me. She is one of my best friends (even though we don’t talk much) and I can proudly say that I have to be reminded that she is 20 years older than I am.

Here in my new city, I was blessed to find another amazing friend that is part of the same older generation, but I never remember that until I have to describe her to someone else. She can make me laugh, can tease with the best of them and she can sure come up with some humdingers!! She too goes to great lengths to make me feel special and to let me know how much she appreciates my friendship. She brings such a peace to the group we are mutually part of and I love having her there as the voice of wisdom and know whatever I may have on my heart, I can turn to her.

I am also so blessed to have amazing relationships with my Mother and Mother in law. Although these friendships and relationships can be more complicated as they are tested and stretched beyond comfortable limits at times with crazy family dynamics, they are constantly a work in progress and are proof that with a lot of love, communication, forgiveness, understanding and a lot of work, a solution and middle ground can always be found.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this need I have to have someone of the older generation in my life isn’t a bad thing. I get teased by some of my younger friends about having “grandma issues”. But, I don’t care. These relationships bring me such joy and comfort, but like any relationship can bring hurt and pain too.. But isn’t that how we grow?

So, if there is someone in your life from this amazing older generation that you don’t have a closer relationship with, make an effort to deepen that relationship. You won’t know what you are missing, how special you can feel or how amazing their insight can be if you don’t.