One of the massive benefits of JoHn being the youngest child was that his sisters and brother all had kids before we did, so we got to watch them learning to be parents the way we all do, without a manual.
And we would pay attention and try to figure out what was working (a baby that is used to sleeping in a Pack n’ Play can and will sleep anywhere, which means you can go out and visit your friends without fear of nap or bed times) and what wasn’t working (Do not get baby dependent on riding in the car to go to sleep or you will be driving around from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., dangerous and zombie-like, simply to get some peace and quiet).
One of the massive benefits in living with Granny and Grampa through the years approaching and after their retirements, and now well into their eighties, is that we get to see what it is like to age, also without a manual.
Again, I have found myself trying to figure out what works (and what doesn’t).
Here are a few of the things I am learning…
1. As I grow older, I want to stay open, to ideas and opinions other than my own. I want to keep learning, and gaining knowledge – and wisdom – for as long as I’m on this particular planet, in this particular life.
2. As I age, I don’t want to be intimidated by the ideas of ‘young’, or ‘new’.
Especially young people…
and new friends.
3. I don’t ever want to hear myself say I’m too old to get something simply because I might die before I can get the most out of it. This includes everything from a fast car to a dog.
With the car, I can get someone to drive me to a big empty parking lot if I’m not a safe driver. The idea of doing donuts in a muscle car when I’m ninety is just thrilling.
And if my kids don’t support me in getting a dog because it might outlive me, I’ll get a bite-y, pocketbook-y chihuahua named Princess and I will put her in my will.
4. And I hope to be patient, and to remember my manners, especially with those closest to me.
I know that continuing to say ‘please’ matters, a lot.
Thank you, too.
Sometimes these are said least to those we love. Isn’t that funny? Why do we often reserve our nicest and most appreciative behavior for strangers?
I don’t think that Granny and Grampa realize they are still examples for me, and have so many meaningful lessons to share. I have to make sure I tell them.
I’ll leave out that some of the stuff that Grampa is teaching might be in the ‘what not to do’ category though.
I am reminded that we are all examples for each other. Every one of us, every day. And that setting an example has rippling impacts far beyond our children and families, and is part and parcel to every single interaction we ever have with another human being.
It is up to us whether this example is a good one, or not.
Another thing I need to keep in mind as I grow older.
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