My mother continues to set a standard for our family, even in her advancing years. She is 94 years old, yet she still works hard to teach and guide me by showing the path to follow. Like me, she is not perfect, but I’ve noticed the effort she makes to keep her word. Whenever she tells me she will do something, I’ve felt a guarantee it would be done, barring any extreme emergency. Although time has always been a challenge for me, I mean fitting everything I want to do into each twenty-four-hour period, I’ve tried to follow my mother’s powerful pattern in my parenting and grandparenting.
I love to do so many things! If I’m not careful my “things” get in the way of having time to spend with “my people”—my children and grandchildren. So I try to parcel myself out, like my parents did, to enjoy activities and events with my family. Like my parents, who scheduled activities in advance so what was important to them—family—would not get lost in their busy lifestyles, my husband and I look at the calendar and purposely plan family events so contact happens regardless of other events and happenings in our lives. For those who live away from our area, we make contact with special holiday packages, phone calls, and letters.
Some time ago, a few members of our family booked with me a date on the calendar for a mountain hike. As that date drew near, my personal calendar was packed with things that had to be done at work and home. I guess I could have called the participating members and told them I was just too busy, but I thought of my mother and how she never let me down. I became determined to keep my word. I decided to clear my mind of work and enjoy the time with family.
As it turned out, due to illness, only one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren ended up going on the hike with me. We packed food and water and put on sun screen. We helped the two-year-old pack her pockets after her pebble gathering. We pointed out the blue, pink, and white flowers to the hefty one-year-old. We sang songs, greeted an old bull moose, and felt rewarded by the beautiful view of a mountain lake high in the hills. All in all, it was a day well worth remembering for young and old. To keep that remembrance for the little ones, I laminated one of the pictures from our hike and mailed one each to the participating grandchildren. That way they could carry the pictures around and remember that fun day with Grandma! That is the reward of planning ahead and following through with a schedule.
Spontaneity and bond-building cannot be underestimated either. The day following the hike, one of our sons came early in the morning to help us with some yard work, trimming pyracantha bushes with my husband and lifting pavers from the truck for a rock garden I was creating. Later in the day, we received a phone call from another son offering assistance. What a wonderful surprise when the second son brought with him three of our grandchildren, all prepared with gloves and energy to help their grandma dig dirt and plant stones and flowers while their father helped his brother and my husband trim the bushes. What good workers and delightful companions for this tired woman! We worked. We talked. We ate ice cream and laughed together. That is the reward of being open to spontaneous opportunities to spend time together.
It’s all about time and keeping your word, whether scheduled or not . . .
I hope to travel down life’s road following my parents’ tire tracks. My father is gone now. He passed away a few months ago at age 96. When I reach my nineties, I want to be like my parents—respected and loved for their example of living a good life and prioritizing time for family.
I took these ideas from my book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea Book, published by Deseret Book. http://www.amazon.com/LDS-Grandparents-Idea-Book-ebook/dp/B00HCN9FPE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1446501153&sr=8-3&keywords=fay+klingler
Fay A. Klingler is the author of the best-selling book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea Book, I Am Strong! I Am Smart! and many other books and articles (www.fayklingler.com). She can be contacted on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FayKlingler.
You've been waiting for today's freebie, I know. Thank you, Fay for a lovely article.
We appreciate your wisdom!