Suzy's Blog/February, 2006        Click for Suzy's Blog Summary

Suzy Smith

I liked this cartoon. I laughed out loud, BUT, do you look like this?

Why is it when we think Grandparent, this is what we see in our mindís eye, the guy with the big gut, or the thin guy with the turkey neck. Those Grandmothers donít fare too well either. The one on the left is submissive, dwarfed by her man. She is selfless, a non-person. You can find her in a Norman Rockwell painting. On the other side is the terrifying Granny, the big boss who commandeers the family. She has unwelcome advice for everyone. Yes, they are caricatures, but in our heads we donít need their shirts to identify them, we know who they are.

Now that I have reached Grandmotherhood, I find that type casting insidious because itís dismissive. It says weíre through as individuals, our only investment in life the upcoming generation. Weíre no longer interesting.

Why donít we think of Goldie Hawn, Paul Newman or Jimmy Carter when we think GRANDPARENT or even of my friend Ronnie who is still rollerblading. Does it have something to do with the notion the king must die? This generation of Grandparents has refused. Weíre going to have it all, Grandchildren AND a life.


When I was young, many ďolderĒ people Ė teachers, my parentís friends, neighbors Ė influenced my life, made it richer in ways Iíve carried through a long life. I hope our youth culture doesnít deny that experience to the younger generation.


All is not lost. Young people come to my husband for advice regularly. Despite a noticeable midsection, they seem to feel he has something useful in his head. SC

Not great to see ourselves as pictured, but I donít think we need to kill the cartoonist.

Granny B.

Since I am on the lecture circuit, what I have to say is still heard. Where I do feel abandoned is in the clothing department. As a newly minted 70 year old female, what am I going to wear?? Sequined jeans arenít going to do it, and though I frequently contemplate my navel, I just donít think others are going to find it all that interesting.  


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Suzy Smith
Oh those nasty EXPECTATIONS, right down to expecting Valentines. Youíd think by the time we reached grandmotherhood, weíd have learned not to have expectations, they just get us into trouble. Iím sorry you didnít get valentines CB, but as my little survey of friends shows, you are in good company. Hey, I didnít get any either.

Iíd like to think my sons Grandmothers got valentines, that I saw to that, but I canít remember if they did. Maybe that says itís not so important. I do, however, think it important that Grandmothers send valentines, itís such an easy way to say I LOVE YOU, something difficult to blurt out in ordinary conversation. And just maybe those young ones who havenít reached our pinnacle of wisdom as yet, just maybe they have EXPECTATIONS. We wouldnít want to disappoint them.

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Suzy Smith
Valentines Day has come and gone, all that brouhaha about hearts and flowers is over. I asked my Grandmother friends how they celebrated the day. Did their grandchildren send them valentines, did they send valentines to their grandchildren? I got some surprising answers. My English neighbor grumbled about Hallmark, how valentines day was most likely their invention, the whole idea one of profit. No valentines sent or received there. On the tennis court, Margo was startled by my question. She was hardly aware valentines day was in the air. Mother's day however, now that was important, she expected to be remembered. Anne, who has seven grandchildren, just laughed at the idea. That would be a lot of valentines to send, oh my goodness. Since three of her seven grandchildren are here in town and she baby sits regularly, I thought for sure they would send valentines. No, they didn't. Cammy sent and received, Jeanie sent and didn't receive. Fran with four grandchildren outdid everyone, she gave cards, candy and gift certificates and got valentines back.

It would be interesting to draw conclusions from this random, tiny sampling, but it certainly wouldn't be scientific. The only thing we can definitively say is, even though one billion valentines are sent each year, some people don't send them. I'm sorry about that. Two great opportunities are missed. One is the fun of it all, the other an opportunity to unabashedly say, I LOVE YOU, please be my valentine and LOVE ME BACK.

      My grandchildren visited this past week-end. We had a great time making Kabubble Valentines for everyone in the family. Nobody thought about making a valentine for me. I didnít either. But when Valentines day came and went and there were none for me --- ouch. I sort of felt like the little girl in the third grade who didnít get the valentine she wanted --   deflated.  


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Suzy Smith
At a bridal shower recently for one of our daughters, we mothers got to talking about how we met our husbands. Janice experienced that romantic dream, love at first sight. She met her man during a mixer her sorority had with the fraternity next door. It was a magical evening. When it ended, she went back to her room, closed herself in her closet, got on her knees and prayed, ďDear lord, let me have this man!Ē He did and they have lived the proverbial happily ever after.

We all warmed to the story. It seems every one of us had entertained the notion, at one time or another, that some enchanted evening love was going to find us across a crowded room or Prince charming would arrive with our shoe. Whatever shape our fantasies took, the bottom line was, sooner or later, love was going to overwhelm us in one glorious moment.

All of us at the shower were old enough to have experienced love, raised families, made our stab at happily ever after, but the ďahaĒ, that fairy tale moment when love explodes in your heart for no apparent reason except the being of the other, that experience had been illusive. That is until, late in life, a handful of words made bells ring and the earth move for each of us in ways that were delightfully girlish. In an instant we were madly in love and with someone we didnít even know as yet. It sounds irrational, particularly for people who have lived long enough to know better, but evidently a typical reaction to being told you are going to be grandmother.
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Suzy Smith
Why do children like to make things, adults too for that matter? I always have a crafts/art project planned when my grandchildren come to visit, something Iíve tried myself and had fun in the doing. Here on Kabubble the majority of our visitors head to arts and crafts. The obvious answer is, as long as theyíre not too difficult and frustrating, these projects are just plain fun. Along with a good time, there is also a sense of satisfaction. So much of what we do every day isnít tangible, we have nothing to show for it. But an art project we can hold up and say LOOK WHAT I MADE! Oh that feels good. Cutting, pasting, painting, all the actions involved in making something, seem almost zen like. We have to go within ourselves, tap our creative resources. The activity becomes, somehow, meditative. I can feel all those contentment chemicals like serotonin creating a sense of well being as I work and, when they really get into a project, I see that happening for my Grandchildren too. My friend, Carole, a former kindergarten teacher, used crafts to enhance learning. Along with achieving dexterity with scissors and other tools, art projects reinforced educational experiences, like learning the alphabet and counting. They were also a good lesson in following directions. In that mix comes an overwhelming sense of achievement. You donít have to be 10 to like that. Best of all is making something for someone where the heart is involved. This is a special gift of love, the top of the feel good list, the serotonin runneth over. Get out your scissors, your glue, your paintbrush and colored paper. Make something. Thereís more to it than meets the eye.

SUZY, you are so right on about this! The week-end before Valentines Day, I sat down and made the Kabubble valentine with the heart pockets for each of my three grandchildren.  My hearts were  stuff I cut out of magazines and some super gift wrapping paper I had on hand. Making them was a very happy, quiet time, working away thinking about what  joy each of those children brings to my life.  To add to the fun, my husband and I went to Starbucks and sat over coffee thinking about  what to say in the notes that went in the hearts.  What an incredible time that was, each of us sharing why we loved those children, and incidentally who they reminded us of in the family! Thanks for all that.   

Sarah M.

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