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My children are growing up. As they enter the second half of their childhoods, I am increasingly aware that my time with them is finite. Like many parents, I often function in a sort of survival or efficiency mode. What do my children and I need to get done today? What goals do we want to achieve? What tasks can be eliminated? While this type of thinking is efficacious, I know that I am missing moments with my children that I would like to savor, moments that I will miss when they are gone.
Recently, I’ve developed an internal archetype of a grandmother. This grandmother archetype is a future version of myself. My grandmother self is less concerned about her to do list, about efficiency and order. My grandmother self delights in the laughter of children, enjoys sensory experiences and idiosyncrasies, and lingers in the moment.
In my daily life, I’ve begun to ask myself the question: What if I were grandma?
I was up in the attic the other day, and I found a ridiculously loud ghost stuffed animal. When you press a button on the ghost it vibrates with hysterical laughter and shouts, “Happy Halloween!” Should I donate the stuffed animal to Good Will before my kids see it again? It’s so obnoxious! I thought to myself. And then came a voice with the question, What if I were grandma?
If I were grandma, I would definitely bring that ghost stuffed animal down from the attic. I would delight in my children’s smiles and laughter at the loud, vibrating ghost. And so I did.
This morning I went for a walk to the lake. A part of me wanted to take off my shoes to feel the cool sand beneath my feet and the gentle waves lapping around my ankles. Another part of me didn’t want to have to deal with the grittiness of the sand and wanted to avoid the inefficiency of cleaning the sand off my feet before putting my shoes back on to walk home.
What if I were grandma? I wondered to myself. If I were grandma, I would definitely take off my shoes and enjoy the texture of the sand beneath my feet. And so I did.
The scenarios are endless: grades, whipped cream, playdates, choices about my work schedule. Each situation provides an opportunity to invoke the wisdom of my inner grandmother. Grandmothers oftentimes give themselves permission to be present with their grandchildren and enjoy the moment in a way that wasn’t accessible in earlier years.
I want to embody my grandmother archetype. I want to enjoy the moment now.