Grandparent Lessons: How Mud Pies Made Me a Grandma
6/29/18: Editor’s Note: Today is International Mud Day, a celebration meant to get kids excited about the joys of playing in the mud! Here Ruth shares a memory from her own childhood – when she made mud pies at her grandma’s house. Ruth realized, years later when she became a grandma, that the experience taught her a lot about the type of grandparent she wanted to be:
In honor of When I was five or six years old, I made mud pies at my Grandma’s house. I did it all by myself. I gathered all the equipment and went to a spot beside the garden that had lots of freshly tilled dirt and a hose. I was in mud pie heaven. When I thought I had a creation worthy of sharing, I proudly took it in the house to show my mom and Grandma. As I rounded the corner my mom caught a glimpse and immediately stood up and started walking toward me. She started to gently guide me back outside and then she noticed it…my mud pie was on Grandma’s favorite silver platter. Mom said something about being disappointed with my choice to use the silver platter as she began to usher me out of the living room. At just that moment, when I knew I was about to get in trouble, my Grandma stood up and said, “Ruth, bring that mud pie over here and let’s take a look.” This isn’t the only time Grandma did this. I can tell you zillions of stories about my Grandma and her acceptance of my choices in life.
Grandma always wanted to share in my joy as well as my frustrations. It was always safe and enjoyable to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with Grandma. Her smile, her eyes, her outstretched arms, the never ending glass of lemonade and sugar-coated candy orange slices always accompanied as she was ready to listen. I learned a lot from Grandma – respect, creativity, trust, honesty and decision making; but the best thing she taught me was that there is a difference between being a mom and being a grandma.
Parents have a responsibility to raise children. Grandparents have the honor to enjoy children. It’s a big distinction. Grandma didn’t spoil me or let me get away with anything…she just focused on me in a unique way. My three granddaughters live in the same town as I do, so I get plenty of opportunities to attend their events and share their company – both with and without their parents. I find that when I am “in charge” I’m more relaxed about rules than their parents may be. There is an unspoken understanding of limits. There is rarely trouble because as a grandparent I have the luxury of focusing totally on them. Dinner, laundry, and housecleaning can wait until they are gone. Being a grandma is a good gig.
I’m not perfect as a grandparent and I wasn’t a perfect parent, but I’ll keep trying to do my best rendition of Grandma.