I never had children of my own, but luckily I have granddaughters. I knew early on in my life that I was not “mom material;” I just couldn’t see it for me. I never felt that I just had to have children. I had all I could do to manage my own life; I felt I was too selfish to bring a child into the world.
As my friends married and had children, I enjoyed visiting them and playing with them. But always when I left I would be in awe of mothers and fathers everywhere. I don’t care what anyone says—raising a child to be a good, decent person is hard work.
Each and every time the Crankee Yankee and I visit our grandgirls we are willing slaves to whatever they want to do. Ava, who is in the first grade, always wants me to hear her read out loud. As an avid reader myself, I rejoice inside at every word. When she comes to a word she can’t pronounce, we sound it out together.
As Ava has a loving and generous heart, she “teaches” her little sister, Juliette, who is almost two years old, what she learns in school. Just as Ava was at that age, Juliette wants to learn everything. When we are all tired of reading, we color or make houses with Lincoln Logs. Most of the fun is when we sneak up on each other’s “house” and knock it down, laughing fiendishly.
Over the years, I realize that my heart has more than enough room in it for everyone in my *ohana: family members and friends.
My granddaughters teach me that love has no boundaries, no walls, no barbed-wire fences. I am sure that one day there may be a time when they are too old (or too ‘cool’) to run to us, arms out, yelling “Grampy!” and “Lulu!” But today, thank God, they still show that pure and sweet love that surrounds us with heart-breaking beauty and happiness.
They don’t know it yet, but they are the teachers who show us how incredibly wonderful life can be. And we are the happy students who benefit from their teaching.
“Ohana – Hawaiian word for all people who aren’t strictly blood-related, but become family through love and affection. If you are a fan of the movie “Lilo and Stitch,” you will know the phrase, “ohana means family, and no one gets left behind.”