Monday, June 20, 2011

what I'm reading: being a grandma - or older woman - from Melbourne's Child

What does Titus 2:3-5 mean when you're a grandmother? What does it mean when you're an 'older woman' caring for younger women with babies? I think this model (from Rose O'Reilly's article Time to Care in June's Melbourne's Child*) is really helpful (and it includes some interesting reflections on retirement too):

The matter of how much grandparents can or should help out with the new generation always requires sensitive negotiation. When my eldest grandchild was born, I didn't help enough. It was only after the difficult early weeks were over that I realised that a couple of hours a week minding the baby was not all that the new parents had needed. They'd needed advice and reassurance, and an extra pair of hands when the baby wouldn't feed properly, or sleep, or stop crying. They'd needed me to be there; but I was off chasing a passion of my own...

Many older people have a lot of freedom, and we tend to think that we deserve it after so many years of working and raising our own children; but life doesn't work like that, and neither does family. There may be a few years that are all our own,** between when our children become independent and when their babies start to arrive. Then the new family demands begin - and they are demands of the nicest kind.

All too soon those gorgeous grandbabies, those miraculous little cooing bundles of brag material, will grow up and be gone. Then we'll be able to spend the rest of our lives shopping for screwdrivers or going on cruises.** I for one will find these things a poor substitute.
* Or Sydney's Child, or Perth's Child, or...
** Or devoted to serving Jesus with all our energy - which I hope goes for all of life, retired or not!

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