By admin


Categories: celebrant musings

Our Grammy

Shortly after my mother-in-law died, I wrote an article for a local newspaper about her death and its meaning to me.  Here it is:

Our Grammy just died.

At the service her great-grandson crawled up and down the stairs, quietly finding a place to watch all the goings-on.  It reminded me of the circle of life in all of its manifestations.

We keep Grammy’s memory alive by telling stories.  A favorite is the one where she shot the head off of a rattlesnake who was coiled up just off their front porch when her son (my husband) was quite young.  The story ends that everyone was safe and protected.

Recently my husband reminded me of the real story, which is that the head-half of the rattlesnake still bit the dog, who became very sick, but survived.  Should we re-tell the story with this amendment?  I decided not.

Not all children’s stories have to have a good ending, but to fight the cynicism and negativity of our world, occasionally glossing a story’s end seems acceptable.  Our children live with CNN instant news of 50,000 dying in an earthquake, bombs blowing up children in Iraq, toddlers being abducted.

Our job as teachers, aunts, uncles, friends, parents and grandparents is to provide them a safe environment as free of fear as possible.  Yet we still have to be realistic about some of the dangers in our world.  Don’t talk with strangers, tell Mom or Dad if someone hurts you, only eat the wrapped Halloween candy, stay close to us at the park.

Finding the balance between protecting and scaring is difficult.

  • We can turn off the news, for one thing.  It has to be the scariest show on TV.
  • We can protect our children from hearing adult conversations.
  • We can enroll them in safe programs like Shadow Rock Preschool.
  • We can watch them vigilantly at home and away.
  • We can keep ourselves as centered and emotionally healthy as possible so that we don’t share or project our own fears.
  • We can let them know that they can talk with us about ANYTHING!

And finally, we can read books, tell stories and sing songs about love and Grammies who kept their children safe.