Friday, June 6, 2008

Learning from my grandmother

Just a few quick thoughts, warmly sent from me to you, before we leave our little home to meet Shabbat at my mother's...

Visiting Grandma a couple of days ago brought these on.

My dear Grandma is a woman of incredible talents and skills in the area of homemaking; throughout her long career as a wife and mother, she excelled in cooking, baking, gardening, canning, sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, decorating, and more and more. She also knew how to be creative in the tightest spots, when often there was barely anything to cook from, or to make clothes from.

Today, Grandma is as skilled as ever, though age-related weakness prevents her from being up and about for as long as she could ten years ago. However, there can be no better teacher - and I got more than a few cooking, baking and knitting lessons from her. I remember hours spent together in the kitchen, Grandma sitting in a chair and instructing me ("just a little bit more cinnamon..."), while I bustled around from here to there - and then the delicious smell of our creations as they came out of the oven.

I remember her sitting in the sunlit living room and patiently correcting my stitch or telling me about the delicious home-grown fruit and vegetables in their garden, which was sadly sold before I was born.

However, even more importantly, I learned that we aren't loved for our skills. We are loved for our hearts and souls, the very essence of our being. Not all of us can be gourmet cooks. Not every woman can make all her family's clothes. But we can all smile and be welcoming to our husbands and children.

A simple sandwich, lovingly served on a pretty plate by a calm, smiling, loving wife, is a thousand times better than an elaborate five-course meal slammed on the table by a woman who walks away with gritted teeth and grudgingly starts to wash the dishes...

Not that we shouldn't try and improve as homemakers. It's heart-warming to step into a clean, cozy home that smells of good food. But what will it be worth without a loving, open heart, and a calm spirit?

24 comments:

Hil The Thrill said...

So beautiful. Thankyou for this entry.

Green Eyes said...

I have learned so much from my grandmother, too. I am the only one of "her girls" (myself and her two daughters) who has chosen to follow in her footsteps and keep at home. I have to say she's quite proud of my choice, and is quite the mama bear when it comes to defending me... even from women of her own generation! She just has such a heart for home... it's not that she's never had her failings, but she found peace every day in sewing a dress for her daughter, managing the money her husband brought home, frying up cornbread for her only granddaughter. We could ALL, stay-at-homes or not, learn some lessons from her cheerful contentment serving those she loves.

Cindi said...

Your words make me wish I knew your Grandmother. Cherish those memories.

Cherish the Home said...

Great post! But I especially liked:

However, even more importantly, I learned that we aren't loved for our skills. We are loved for our hearts and souls, the very essence of our being. Not all of us can be gourmet cooks. Not every woman can make all her family's clothes. But we can all smile and be welcoming to our husbands and children.

I knew this already but needed the reminder, thank you for the encouragement you give homemakers. (o:

Candy- A Pretty Home said...

A lovely post! And so well written.
Thank you as always.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree, and your grandmother sounds like a treasure. You can run a home with love and take joy in your work (even if it's a bit mundane or even downright boring occasionally)and create a cozy haven for your family, your friends and for yourself; or you can do it grudgingly, just doing the bare minimum, and have a barren, soulless home where no one wants to stay except to pick up their mail and change their clothes before going somewhere else.

Susan

Kelly said...

Oh well said Anna, I think another down side of feminism is that not only does it mistakenly tell use we can have a career and family but that we can be perfect. I just really liked your example of that women who slams down a gourmet meal. Well said and illustrated

Lauren Christine said...

So, so true Anna! The best of homemakers with a bitter spirit is not making her home a happy place at all.

Proverbs 21:19- "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman."

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful post. Thank you.

Shannon

Anonymous said...

As my Mother was a devoted feminist, my Grandmother is the only reason today for my home making skills and way of life today. She taught me how to respect men, and how to have a calm, happy, traditional home life. I am so greatful to her today - most likely my husband is too!
Enjoy your time with your Grandmother, and cherish the skills she teaches to you - Lord Willing, you will be able to pass those treasures on to your daughter in the future!
Kindest regards,
Melissa

Jennifer said...

That is so nice you have memories with your grandmother..and the things she taught you that you can take through life with you..thats nice:)
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna - I felt so relieved to read this. You are right . . . as long as I greet my husband and children with warmth and love, the house doesn't have to be perfect - sure I can build up to that, but its not the most iportant thing. Thank you so much for this wonderful concept . . . especially the analogy of the simple sandwich. I feel very encouraged.

PS: My grandma has dementia and is in a home, has been like that for a long time. I'm so glad you enjoy and love your grandma so liberally while she is here.

AnonMe

Lisa said...

There is always so much we can learn from our grandmothers. I remember many of the same things about my grandma as you do about yours. All we have to do is listen.

Leah said...

That is very sweet. Your Grandma is the perfect picture of what a Grandma should be. Very good observation. It doesn't matter what you serve as long as you serve it with a good and loving attitude.

Congratulations on your marriage. I know it's late...but..congrats anyway!

zetor said...

Good post Anna. We can all learn from Grandma's. But I agree everyone has something to offer, even if it a smile. A smile can brighten a day!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an incredible resource your Grandmother is. I would give anything to have someone like her in my life! I can only hope to try to be like her for my children.

Good point at the end. Especially since I find myself rush, rush rushing to get things done against this invisible time clock when I really should just snuggle my babies more.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

Thursday's Child said...

I wish I'd paid better to attention to the things my grandmothers had to teach me. One is gone now but the other turned 100 in February. We're blessed to still have her here praying for all of us.

Michelle Potter said...

What a lovely lesson she has passed down to you, Anna.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

What a lovely tribute to your grandmother! It is wonderful you are able to learn so much from her. Your point about serving our families with love is very well taken. It is sometimes easy to forget how important our attitude is in serving our families (and others). Thank you for the reminder.

Susan B

Anonymous said...

You've spoken fondly of your grandmother before, Anna, but I don't remember such a detailed post about all you learned from her. She sounds like a wonderful person...you have a treasure trove of memories connected with her!

I never met my maternal grandmother...my father's mother died when I was about 12 years old, & I don't have very many substantial memories of her. I have some of her little workbooks, though, from her early school years. They are written in German, which was her first language. Beautiful penmanship back then, too. :o)

Thanks for this very sweet post!

Brenda

PhDCow said...

My grandmother has been a tremendous teacher and resource for me as I've started my own home and family. Due to some issues, I'm not close with my mother and didn't learn much from her when she was around anyway. My Oma has taught me so many things about all aspects of keeping a home and I don't know what I'd do without her!

Michelle Potter said...

Anna,

I'd like to share an award with you called Sharing the Love. It was created by Crystal of Memoirs of a Mommy to honor the donor who gave her son a new heart. You can see more info about it here:
http://usr-bin-mom.com/index.php?page=entry&id=2240

Mia said...

Anna,
That was beautiful. We have so much to learn from both old and young God-centered ladies. Your wisdom delights me and I thank you for sharing it with all of us!
Mia

Kelleigh said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. Your Grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman. You are so blessed!