We take on many roles in our lives; some we resist, some we question, while others we embrace. It’s almost a year now since I feel fortunate to have been able to add the title of grandmother to the list of many other roles I have gathered over the 64 years I have been on this planet.
In joining the ranks of those who have gone before me, I have been contemplating how the women who were my grandmothers, and my own mother as a grandmother, have shaped me.
THE MATERNAL LINEAGE…
I never thought to ask mum if she liked being a grandmother to Peter’s and my two sons, Louis and Yoshi. When I think back over the years, I remember how generous she was with her time and energy, especially when it came to anything grandson-related. She once said to me that she wanted to create memories for them, and based on Louis’ and Yoshi’s recollections of the times spent with my parents, I think she achieved this end. Her desire to be involved in their lives was inspiring.
…AND FROM THE PATERNAL SIDE OF THE FAMILY
MORE RECENT TIMES
In early 2020, Keith and I arrived home from our trip to Japan and Europe. Louis and Tam were eager to catch up. Tam’s mother, Dorothy was visiting from Malawi. It wasn’t long before the news was out – Tam was pregnant! It was very thoughtful of them to wait until we returned home to hear the news ‘face to face’. One of the special moments was the acknowledgment that passed between Dorothy and I, that we would both be grandmothers to this baby, something we would always share.
My grandmothers, both born in the early 1890s, arrived in a world that had just seen the last of ‘the long economic boom which began with the gold rushes of the 1850s… unemployment and poverty soared.’ (www.parliament.nsw.gov.au)
My parents were born in the late 1920s, growing up just after a devastating war, in the middle of the Great Depression of the 30s and then being old enough to enlist in another war. The awareness of the frugality required to survive difficult times would have been passed onto them by their parents, helping them embrace living lightly and being content with what they had.
Edna and Ian soon became parents themselves, and raised the four of us Hugo, Rod, Jann and I, in an era that, while post-war like their parents, had a very different motivation. Governments were committed to providing jobs for the returned servicemen and woman, encouraging families to ‘live the dream’ with all of the modern conveniences that were promoted as saving time and contributing to the growth of the economy. A refrigerator hardly seems like a luxury!
When I think of the lifestyles of my brothers and my sister, I think our parents’ values rubbed off on us more than we would like to have admitted as teenagers in the 60s and 70s. We all live lightly on the planet in our own ways.
SEPTEMBER 2021 – THIS DAY AND THIS AGE
So here we are, twenty years since the 9/11 attack, in the midst of a global pandemic, with much disagreement in the air about who holds the truth. Towera will be a year old in just under two weeks. What will she make of us, and all of this? We don’t know which way things will go. Will the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in early November bring countries together, to work for a common cause, for our children, our grandchildren, and all creatures on this planet? This is a hope that so many have held over the generations. Only time will tell if we can make it happen, let’s hope we see change for the better.