I look at this photo a lot. For me, it’s a photo of my grandmothers.
My Gramma Elsie pieced the quilt. Grandmothers’ Flower Garden. Her favorite and mine, too. I used to get to draw the pieces on fabric for her. Tiny honeycomb shapes traced with bits of a Cheerios box for the pattern, and a stubby little pencil that lived in a pocket in her housedress.
The perfume tray was Granny Elizabeth’s. It’s one of my earliest memories. And, when we lost her, it was given to me, along with the vintage bottles and the tiny glass dog who always lived there.
This week my kids sent a photo from their excursion to the Virgin Islands. My not-quite-14 year old granddaughter serving as Captain on a pontoon boat with a huge grin on her face.
There were lots of boats in my childhood. I remember the first time my dad let me drive. A tiny aluminum john boat with a 6 horse Evinrude motor on the back. I was, no doubt, grinning, too!
All of that is part and parcel of the Grammy I’ve become. Or, rather, am still becoming.
And, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors, the bread is rising now.
Now is the operative word in that sentence. This is a different world than we’ve ever known before. A bigger shock, I suspect, for me and mine than for many others.
White privilege, names followed with the alphabet soup of higher education, insurance, a home, actual access to Covid vaccines… I wasn’t prepared for the pandemic.
Our kids weren’t either. And they need us now more than ever. I have some ideas about how to help.
Many of those ideas found their voice in a document I’ll tell you more about in a minute. It’s called the Grandmothers’ Manifesta.
It appeared in my head, as things often do, whole-cloth, if you will.
I grabbed the nearest notebook and scribbled and cried. Tears of recognition. Recognition of what’s been growing inside me.
A friend, privy to the messy, hand-written, first draft, asked how long it took.
You’ve already guessed the answer. Thirty five years and 10 minutes.
It began the day I first heard one of my heroes, Dr. H. Stephen Glenn, say that if a teenaged child had five adults who would listen to them, take them seriously, and not shame or blame them for their questions, that child was practically immune from ever attempting suicide.
If you’ve been hanging around a while, you’ve heard me say this before. I knew, in that moment, that I wanted to be one of those five people for as many kids as I could, and I wanted to help others learn to do that, too.
Here’s the new part. I’m ready.
I’ve been getting ready for a long time and context is, indeed, everything.
So, I’m going to be spending some time rounding up some more folks who want to get ready, too. Actual grandmothers. Archetypal grandmothers. Aunties. Teachers. Even very brave grandfathers.
Here’s how we start:
Click this link, please, and be magically transported to somewhere in cyberspace where you can claim your very own pdf copy of the Manifesta and print it out if you like. And, yes, I’d be thrilled if you shared this!
There’s more coming soon.
For now, physical therapy. One part of Grammy-hood I’d be okay with not needing, but there’s work to do and I am not done. We are not done!
ps… Just in case you missed the link, here it is again!
pps… Phoebe and Luther want you to know that dogs are invited, too. Even cats!