Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love, after all

I received a few responses for a recent post “The ritual of small things.” Thank you. I know there are lots of us who find after the fact, after the grandparents have died, that we are indelibly linked. 

Here they are:

“I still remember the first time my Mother decided I didn't need an Easter basket at College. I was so disappointed. It is the small rituals that do show love and caring and remembering from year to year.” - Sandy O.

 “Just wanted to say that my grandmother gave me a Christmas ornament every year for the 23 years that I was blessed to have her. I appreciated the tradition then -- to varying degrees, more so as I got older -- but I treasure the results of it now. Even if your grandkids are less sentimental than I am, it's a good tradition!”  - Nikki J

“I love the grace of small things, Margie. Please keep giving your grandchildren ornaments...they are stories and links to you as well as memories of you and Denis many years from now. Do you date them and sign them? It will help them remember someday. My mom bought ornaments for us and then for her grandchildren up to her passing…” – Alice

“Our advent ritual is to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. We have a Dutch background and we celebrate by putting shoes out the night of the 5th or 6th of December. The date varies for St. Nicholas depending on whether I have my act together or not and buy gifts on time. The gifts usually involved chocolate and some small things. Our daughter is 17 and about to leave home. We don't live in America right now. But this ritual is important for us to keep as part of our Advent.”  - “Walkingtochina”

I agree now that I’ve moved thoroughly into being a grandparent – I’ve observed quite a number of young people who have fond memories of grandparents playing important roles in their lives. Enough to commemorate them with a tattoo. Yes.

Yesterday I was talking to my brother, the sheriff. He told me about one of his step-grandsons, a teenager who has not had anyone to love him spontaneously, unconditionally. He’s an abandoned quiet boy, not used to hard work or the kind of play they have up where my family lives in northern Minnesota. Last summer my brother had him working in the garden, caring for the horses, grading the driveway, right beside him and when work was done on a hot day in the evening they’d ride the 4-wheeler up to the beach for a swim in Lake of the Woods, light off firecrackers, sit around a fire as it grew dark. My brother, who’s a big man, but tender, said this quiet boy one day sat on his lap and said, “I love you, Grandpa.” Now from far away in Florida, he’s coming back for Christmas. He’d like to… “please, can I move up there so I can live with you, you wouldn’t even know I was here, I’d be so good, so quiet…”

So…the traditions. The small loves we give in the ordinariness of everyday life may be that sacred thing that will one day say, you are not lost in the cosmos. There is a bigger, better someone who loves you.

My favorite ornament given to me, ever: Baby Jesus in a nest. (Thanks, Judi Fong.)


Walking to China said...

It's interesting how many of these things stick with us until adulthood. I remember Christmas Eve really starting when my day would put on the record (that dates me) of the Cambridge College Nine Lessons and Carols. I play that at Christmas and still feel a swell of emotion when the choir joins the boy soprano. Chills! For me it's not Christmas until I've heard that recording.

billjudi said...

Oh Margie, the photo of "your favorite ornament ever" brought tears to my eyes! It happens to be my favorite handmade ornament too. I think I made over 100 that year. Bill & I still give our adult children & sons-in-law an ornament to remind them of a blessing each year & grandson Kyle who turns 1 in a few days already has a small collection started by his Nana & Mom. Thank you for brightening my day. I hope your post means you got some rest and have more energy today. Thank you friend for sharing your most meaningful thoughts. They are more encouraging to me than you will ever know. This is truly a joy4judi...

MommaMindy said...

Beautiful thoughts, thanks for sharing. It never occureed to me to start traditions with my grandkids. Now is the perfect time to start! Merry CHRISTmas!

Sarah! said...

Margie, this post is marinating up in my head but the immediate thing it did (well, with the Holy Spirit (-:)was keep me from being grouchy at my kids for taking only half hour naps this afternoon. I feel so much more "in perspective" and grateful to be able to love these four hoodlums....

Margie Haack said...

Sarah, these are the hard years with little ones. Exhausting. And this time of year can be wearing when we'd like everything to be von Trapp-ishly perfect. Right! Hope you can do something sweet and good for yourself today.
The rest of you, too. Thank you. Especially you, Judi. I've been so blessed by your generosity over the years.