16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 9 – Mōdraniht
Tasks for Mōdraniht: Tell us your favourite memory about your mom, grandma, or the woman who had the greatest impact on your childhood. –OR– Post a picture of you and your mom, or if comfortable, you and your kids.
Bonus task: Post 3 things you love about your mother-in-law (if you have one), otherwise your grandma.
Since I’ve already sung my mom’s praises and posted pictures of her and me here (and another picture here), I’m going to make this one all about my maternal grandma, as well as my “third grandma” (my uncle’s mother, who actually had a much greater role in my life than my paternal grandmother), without both of whom my childhood just wouldn’t have been what it was.
My maternal grandma (left) and my “third grandma” (right), ca. mid-1980s
Since my mom was working full time even when I was in elementary school, after school I didn’t go home but spent the afternoons at my grandparents’ home some 5 minutes from our own home, where I got my lunch, did my homework (or read, or painted pictures) while my grandma was having her afternoon nap, had afternoon tea and biscuits (or, well, tea for the grown-ups, juice for me), and played with the neighborhood children, most of whom were my classmates. Sometimes when my grandparents were travelling they would take me along, but whenever they didn’t (or whenever my grandma was in hospital), it fell to my “third grandma” to take over taking care of me while my mom was at work.
Age 3 or 4: on the beach in Holland with my grandma
So, many of the values I grew up with were my two caretaking grandmas’ values, either conveyed to me directly by them or indirectly (via my mom). More than anything, though, I remember both of their sense of humor, kindness and infinite patience — and as I grew up, I also learned to appreciate their enormous broad-mindedness which allowed them to accept the change of social perceptions, and to distinguish changeable perceptions of morality and core personal values.
My maternal grandparents and my uncle’s parents had known each other for decades before my generation came along in our family — they were living in small neighboring towns in Thuringia until the end of WWII, and my uncle and aunt (my mom’s elder sister) were high school sweethearts there — but I think my two grandmas (real and “substituted in”) became even closer friends after their respective families had moved to West Germany after the war, even though my “third grandma” lived in Essen (some 100 kms [60 miles] from Bonn) for the longest time and only moved here when my aunt and uncle did, too. In many ways, looking back, nothing says “end of youth” (or “end of innocence”) to me quite as much as their deaths, witihin a few years of each other, when I was in my early thirties.
Left: my grandma and my mom shortly after my mom’s birth. Right: my grandma with her three children (my mom’s the youngest, leaning against her mother), mid- / late 1940s