Tara Mohr began the “Grandmother Power” blogging campaign as a way to raise awareness about how women working together and speaking up can change the world in loving and powerful ways. I’m a little late to this party, since the campaign ends tomorrow, but there is still time for you to join in and share your thoughts about the value and power of strong older women.
Life is Short–Eat Dessert First
When I heard about this campaign, I immediately thought about my maternal grandmother. Even though she lived 500 miles away, my grandma was a central figure in my life. She stayed with us when new babies were born. She came on all of our family vacations. She taught me how to play cards and dice–she was a wicked card player. She was a bookkeeper, and made sure that all of us knew how important math was. She let the big kids take turns sleeping in her room, so we got our one-on-one time. She expected good manners at her table. She was a complete night owl, and she would pound on her paper in frustration when you couldn’t guess her Pictionary drawing. She hiked the Rockies in her late 70s and continued to travel the country well into her 80s.
This was after she helped her husband build a business, anchor a church community, and raise five children.
My grandmother had a passion for life, and a passion for her family. She believed in seeking out new experiences, and building great memories. I am so grateful that she got to meet my daughter, and so sad that my children will never have the memories with her that I did (although my mom is working pretty hard at being exactly that grandmother for them).
Hanging in her kitchen was a plaque that said “Life is Uncertain–Eat Dessert First.” Now in some ways, this was a reflection of my grandmother’s appreciation for great sweets–particularly all things chocolate. And, in her honor, at her funeral lunch most people headed to the dessert table first. But really, it was a great metaphor for her attitude that we can’t afford to wait until the “time is right.” Life is what is happening now, and we have a responsibility to get out there and engage in it.
So, as I reflect on the idea of “grandmother power,” I take this lesson from my grandmother. In your life, eat dessert first. Tell the people that you love that you love them. Don’t wait for a bad job to get better–find a great job. Don’t count on someone else to make change, take a step on your own. Hug your children every day. Find something to build, to grow, to be proud of. And enjoy some great chocolate too.