The universal love and wisdom of grandparents

Carmen Micsa

And the lessons I learned from my own grandmother

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Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

By the year 2030, 1 in every 5 Americans will be over 65, totaling 70 million, according to Fast Facts on Grandparenting & Intergenerational mentoring. From analyzing these numbers, older adults will have a huge influencing role and impact on society by choosing to be active grandparents and mentor younger generations.

I can certainly attest to the fact that my grandmother played a huge role in my childhood in the 80s.

Although my grandma was less than five feet, her dignified way of walking tall, made her look like the statue of a Roman goddess. Her blue eyes as deep as our Black Sea warmed my soul and gave me the assurance that I could sparkle and accomplish anything I wanted in life.

Spending time with my grandma every summer back in Romania felt like steeping tea. I was suffused with the delicate aromas of her baking, tenderness, and love. Yet, looking back, I find solace and serenity in all the lessons that my grandmother taught me.

Never skip breakfast

“Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing. It is the mouthful that is the commitment to a new day, a continuing life.” — AA Gill

My grandma used to make me the most luscious breakfast every morning. She would prepare the most perfect fried eggs, not too soft, not too hard-topped with grated Swiss cheese and homemade bread with fresh fruit preserve that she made every year with the apricots, plums, quince fruit in the garden.

Not only did grandma serve the most delicious breakfast, but she would wear a different white embroidered apron with cute images of cats and dogs every morning. She also wore a net over her graying hair, as if she were a professional chef cooking for a five-star restaurant. Her serene face, expressive blue eyes that shone brighter than all the stars at night, and her soft hands that could create exquisite meals, as well as sew, knit, and crochet, welcomed me to the kitchen every morning, which gave me the energy to play with my cousins and our dog Pufi every day.

Looking back at my grandma’s attention to detail when cooking my breakfast, I have learned that eating breakfast every morning jumpstarts one’s metabolism, as well as helps with concentration and memory.

Encourage and support

“Most people listen without hearing.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

As much as I relished spending the morning with my grandma over breakfast, my favorite time to be with her was in the evening, when things calmed down and she would be in her room knitting me a sweater. We would always talk about books and writing, while her hands turned yarn into colorful, soft sweaters, socks, gloves, hats, or whatever she was making.

Grandma particularly loved listening to my writing and encouraged me to write every day so that I can read to her in the evenings. I loved to sit on the small wooden bed next to grandma. Charmed by the white flannel bonnet that she wore at night, I would read my gibberish stories that I started to write ever since I was eight years old.

Grandma listened to me intently. She would always nod her head at the right part of the story. She would also smile and rub my back. The delight she took in listening to me kept me going back to the blank pages in my notebooks, which I filled up with hope, dreams, and the most preposterous characters.

Although writing had become the magical carpet transporting me to faraway places that I could only dream of at that time, I kept on writing to share as many stories with grandma while lying down next to her — absorbing her serenity through her full attention without having to compete with the small black and white TV in her room.

Finding serenity in one’s soul

“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” — Lao Tzu

My grandma’s serene, calm, composed, and tranquil demeanor was like a sweet lullaby to my soul. Her serenity swaddled me like a soft blanket. I felt soothed, heard, seen, and loved.

Looking back at those serene and magical moments spent with my grandma, I realize that serenity was as natural to my grandma as her white crocheted shawl that she wore around the house over the plain navy dress. Serenity was not something that grandma had to think about or develop. It was just there through her being present, even though yoga was a foreign concept to her and most of us in the 80s.

Meerabelle Dey, author of Getting to Serenity: 10 Daily Habit for Inner Peace expounds upon various habits that will enhance one’s serenity, such as practicing gratitude, kindness, being in the present, reading the right kind of books, and spending time with the right people to name a few.

My grandma definitely embodied all these serenity habits.

Even better: grandma instilled these habits in me, which is why it explains why I don’t overreact to events and choose to find composure amidst the chaos.

Playing is serious business

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” — George Bernard Shaw

Based on this quote, my grandma was forever young. Although she kept busy running the house, cooking, cleaning, and helping all of us kids, she loved to spend time alone reading, knitting, or crocheting. To her, playing was serious business, which is why she always told us to go have fun.

“You kids enjoy playing while you can,” she used to say. “Later on in life, you might forget what playing is all about.”

At that time, I just smiled at grandma when she said that, as I could not imagine ever forgetting how to play.

Playing was natural and spontaneous. One day, we would build a tent and read books inside, while another day, we would climb on the flat roof of the house to see Birlad, the small, industrial town in the Northern part of Romania, where we visited my grandparents every year.

Now fast forward to being an adult, I understand that grandma’s advice to take play seriously matches Nathan H. Lents’ article Why Play is Important.

Lents explains that not only is play important for learning social rules, but it is also great for managing stress, as well as increasing creativity and deepening social bonding.

As a child, I loved my grandma’s serene blue eyes that never wandered around the room when I was reading her my little stories that she encouraged me to write.

As an adult, I love to reflect on the lessons of steeping my being in the suffusing aromas of grandma’s breakfast made with love and serenity just for me, while I ran around the big garden and abandoned myself into peals of laughter.

And it all started with a scrumptious breakfast. The rest are memories about my remembering grandma and her gift of time laced around the serene edges of my childhood.

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CEO/Broker of Dynamic Real Estate, Inc., business owner featured in the Forbes magazine for my outstanding service to my clients. Mom, wife, a published author, Medium writer, poet, marathon runner, rapper, and tennis player.

Carmichael, CA
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