Monday, November 26, 2012

Roots of Love

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members. ~Pearl S. Buck

We just celebrated Thanksgiving and counted our blessings. I had plenty to count. Now we’re heading toward the Christmas holidays. Maybe you were one of those out hunting bargains this weekend. Maybe you were one of those who stayed home because you would rather watch football players pile into one another on television than take the chance of being tackled yourself as shoppers stormed into the stores to get those deals.
If you were fortunate, you probably gathered with family or are planning to gather with family at Christmas. The holidays can be such fun for youngsters. They can be very busy for those youngsters’ parents. Grandparents get caught up in the fun too while the kids are little, but then sometimes when the grandparents become great-grandparents and the years have piled on, they can’t do the things they used to do at Christmas. They begin to feel unneeded. Perhaps unwanted. No longer is it their house the younger relatives gather at for the celebration of whatever holiday.
Not long ago I did a library book talk. After my talk, I spoke with a lovely older lady and asked her about her family. She had children and grandchildren close by, but she said they didn’t have much time for her these days. She didn’t want to be “excess baggage.” Her words were spoken with a certain set to her chin and a determined look in her eyes that didn’t quite hide the sadness.
I am sure her children and grandchildren love her, but life can get so busy. The grandkids probably don’t think to call just to say hello. They probably intend to drop by and see their grandmother, but the weeks slide past, become months, and they don’t find the time. Maybe grandmother doesn’t hear as well as she used to and can’t handle the noise of a rowdy household. Maybe nobody asks her how to fix a favorite recipe anymore because they’ve found their own favorite recipes. Maybe they think grandmother doesn’t feel like helping with the cooking or whatever and insist she merely sit and watch. No one takes the time to listen to her even though she has great stories to tell if only the right questions were asked. And now she’s feeling like “excess baggage.” No longer needed by her family.
But we do need our older relatives. We need the strong roots of their love. I hope this lady’s family proves her wrong over the holidays by including her often in their celebrations. And with joy. I hope they will treasure her while she keeps her health and her memories. I miss that so much with Mom. Her memories of our times together. Sometimes she doesn’t remember she has children. Sometimes she thinks those children are still young and playing out in the yard. When she asked for Ann last week and I claimed to be me, she frowned and said she wanted the “young Ann.” Oh, to be that young Ann for her. To be able to take her home to see her mother. To walk with her back through the years while she still remembered them.
I did talk with her about her growing up years quite a bit while her memory was working, but not enough. There’s so much to a person’s life that no one can ever know it all. I do hope I never made her feel like “excess baggage.” And I hope if you have an elderly relative who might be lonesome over the holidays and missing the way things used to be for them, that you’ll call her up or go by and spend some time with her.
Time – often the very best gift we can give. Thanks for spending a little time here with me.
What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. ~ Mother Theresa


  1. Thank you for your comments today, I pray they reach the ears of those that need to hear them, I see it all the time in our world today-older folks dont get the respect from family or even their own community many times. I have a sister in Ky that will be 81 this year and when she had a small surgery recently even her church was remiss in stopping by to check on her, she was so dissapointed in them. My husband and I are now in our 70's and our children and grandchildren dont come to see us often only when they need help themselves with something. I see the world around us becoming much to much a "me first" type of world..
    Pray that somehow this will change one day.

    Paula O(

    1. That's too bad about your sister, but sometimes if we don't tell our church friends about the surgery or sickness, they don't know about it. I'm sure her church family would hate knowing she felt disappointed. But we all are so busy. Too busy. I understand where you're coming from there. Sometimes as the older generation we have to go out and find new interests to keep us going after the kids get older. May Christmas be a time of blessing for you and yours.

  2. Hi Ann, Thank you for the reminder about not making older family members feel like excess baggage. I have been blessed with spending extra time with my mom during her recent surgery, staying through Thanksgiving and also through Christmas. I get exasperated sometimes because she doesn't hear as well and doesn't cook anymore leaving it all up to me. She is 85 and I needed that reminder to be a little kinder. I am praying that God will help me to give her an extra measure of grace (as needed) because that's what she has always given to me. My heart reaches out to you in the situation with your mom. Love your blog...have a blessed week! Linda

    1. Being a caretaker is not always easy, Linda, even when it's someone we love very much that we're taking care of. I'm sure it's been a blessing for her too to have you there with her for these holidays and to help her through a rough time. My mom gets irritated with me all the time when I don't know about all the things she's imagining happening or that need to happen. I pretend to go along but sometimes I'm clueless as to what or who she's talking about. And don't we all need an extra measure of grace. Maybe it's time to order in to give you a break from cooking. Pizza sounds good after all that turkey and dressing. :)

      I always enjoy your comments, Linda. Thanks.


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