Meet my granddaughter Amelia, 17, the daughter of our son, Dean, and his wife, Jyl.
Of course I am biased and forever reminded of words my late mother often spoke to her children as we gloried in our kids. Mom would say, “Remember, every mother crow thinks her little crow is the blackest.”
As well they should.
Perhaps Amelia is so special because she’s our firstborn grandchild. Aside from that, however, she’s always had a very tender and compassionate heart. In fact, I’ve often wondered if she isn’t part angel. Plus she knows how to pick her friends. Those she selects are just like her.
Last week, Amelia wanted to know if she could interview me for her psychology class. Usually I’m the one asking the questions so the role reversal sounded fun. We did the first part of this via email. Then when we were at her house last Sunday for her sister Grace’s confirmation, Amelia asked if we could continue the interview face-to-face. The house was full of people so we went to the quietness of her orange room. Orange is her favorite color.
Amelia sat in the chair by her desk and I, well I flopped on her bed, much like someone does on a psychologists’ couch. Turned out it was cheap therapy and truly fun.
Let’s start with the questions Amelia had emailed me and my answers:
1. What changes do you see in life right now from when you raised your kids to watching other kids growing up today?
My answer: It makes me very sad to think that the world is so much more unsafe for the children of today than it was when my sons were growing up. We never worried at all about our sons going to the park and playing for hours and hours. Today, because of the terrible things that happen to children, you have to have an eye on them constantly. FBI and National Crime Information Center statistics show that today a child goes missing every 40 seconds. I truly believe that many of our problems today are brought on because some parents don’t know how to parent. They put their kids in front of the television instead of spending quality time with them. And many of the shows on TV now are repulsive and not family oriented.
2. What is one of your favorite memories of growing up?
My answer: Getting together every Sunday at my grandparents’ farm with all my cousins and aunts and uncles for wonderful food, fellowship and fun. We never failed to end the day by gathering around the piano to sing.
3. What was one of the best lessons you were taught growing up?
My answer: It came from someone my own age and I was 15 at the time. I was getting ready to go on my very first date, to double with my first cousin Idamae. We were going to a movie with two boys from her school. I was very nervous and in my jitters said, “Oh, I won’t know how to act.” Idamae looked at me and replied, “Just be yourself.” It struck me then and there that I should never try to be someone I’m not. I try to live up to that to this day!
4. What’s your favorite thing about watching your grandchildren grow up?
My answer: Seeing the very nice people they already are at such young ages (17, 14, 9 and 7). I asked one of them one day (Granddaughter Elyn), “How did you get to be so nice?” She answered: “I guess God just gave me a good heart.” I would agree and add to that that all four of my grandchildren have very good solid based parents who are leading them on the right roads of life.
5. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to offer to my generation?
My answer: Never give in to peer pressure. Pick your friends very very carefully. Don’t be afraid to let people know if you are being bullied. And don’t bully others. Always be kind and considerate of others. Stay away from (avoid) others in your age group that you sense are not honest, open and kind people. And finally, don’t ever tell even one single lie. If you lie once and unfortunately don’t get caught, it’s easier to lie again and then again.
Those were Amelia’s email questions. As I reclined on her “couch,” she looked so professional with her pad and pen in hand. She had a couple more queries and prefaced them by saying, “you don’t have to answer these if it will be too hard for you.” I assured her they would not be. So Amelia began by asking,
6. What did you learn from helping to care for your sister, Lori, over the summer as she was dying?
My answer: Many things, I began. I learned how very deep “sister love” can go as so many memories wash over you. I learned to be more gentle, more compassionate and tender. I learned patience. Someone with a brain tumor can no longer do the things they’ve always done for themselves, like putting their hair in rollers or holding a book or even reading. And while they are still able to do some of those things, it takes them much longer. You have to learn to not be in a hurry and permit them to do the things they still can do. When I was working in my sister’s kitchen and she was there in a wheelchair, I would consult her about how she likes to do things, never saying, “How she used to like to do things.” I still wanted her to feel a part of what was going on in her own home.
7. And finally, Amelia asked, “Grandma is there anything specific that I can be praying for you for?
My answer: That one gave me pause. Finally I asked for Amelia to pray that Grandpa and I would remain healthy so both of us can hang around long enough to see our four grandchildren grow to adulthood and to witness their wonderful accomplishments.
I think it’s pretty neat when a grandchild asks how she can pray for you. If you met Amelia I think you’d agree – she’s part angel.