Momservation: Mother Teresa’s instructions for making a difference in this world: “Start at home. Start with your own family.”
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My grandma just turned 89. Love that woman to pieces.
Despite not feeling great the doctor gave her a clean bill of health—must be the Spanish way of drinking coffee from birth and wine with every meal. My 66 year-old Aunt Sandie who is battling a case of the Shingles took Gram to the doctor reporting back: “She’s healthier than I am! On less medications too!”
But we knew that. The trouble Gram is having I think we’ve all struggled with. Our bodies age quicker than our minds. We feel betrayed when our 45 year-old bodies can’t keep pace with our 25 year-old mental self. It’s no different when you’re 89. You still want to drive the new car that you think you are instead of the vintage model you’ve become.
There is a bigger issue though that I believe is impeding her well-being. She is in the sunset of her life. And as she stares across the horizon lit brilliant with a lifetime of memories, she cannot help reflecting upon the yesterdays when the tomorrows are fading in the sun’s setting light.
“You’ve done so much with your life, Kelli,” she said to me. “I haven’t done anything.”
It pained my heart to hear her say this, and obviously, I didn’t see it that way.
I am blessed to have an amazing family. Funny uncles, wonderful aunts, cousins like siblings, parents who adore me, a brother who would do anything for me, grandparents who think I can do no wrong. It is a gift that I know not everyone has. And that gift would not be ours if it weren’t for Gram’s legacy of love.
Back when Gram became a mother, that was the only job expected of women. Raise the family. It was a time when the parenting philosophy was to not spare the rod and children were to been seen and not heard. But Gram was so thrilled, so tickled to be a mother to her three children she went another route. She smothered them with love.
And those children, secure in who they were, raised in an environment of forgiveness and unconditional love, went and feathered their nests with these values. The children who were born to them not only thrived under this nurturing, they believed they could do anything when they had the inexhaustible love and support of two generations. When those children went out into the world they found friends and mates who completed their strong foundation of family, love, and support. The great-grandchildren they brought into the world now stand on a platform three generations strong telling them they can do anything, they will be there if they fall, they will be there to celebrate their successes.
And we are indeed changing the world. One act of love, kindness, and compassion at a time. Because like Mother Teresa told the downtrodden, overwhelmed by the problems of the world, those who felt helpless to do anything—it was still possible to make a difference.
“Start at home. Start with your own family,” she said.
And that’s what Gram has done. There is no greater contribution to this life than unconditional love. She has sown it. We are reaping it. And it is a good life. A very, very good life.
She won’t see this tribute to her legacy of love because she doesn’t have a computer. For her birthday I used my gift to give her a gift. I wrote her a poem I hoped would help convince her of her indelible and most valuable mark on this world. I called it “Your Legacy of Love.” Below is an excerpt I hope many can relate to. And if you feel the same way about your grandmothers, or anyone who has given you the gift of their love, feel free to give this to them too.
When someone loves you so completely
Just because you are you
It gives them wings to fly
And believe there’s nothing they can’t do
When someone loves you so selflessly
Putting your needs before their own
It gives you the freedom to sail away
Knowing there’s always a safe haven waiting at home
When someone loves you so easily
Making your flaws seem to disappear
It gives you the courage to be yourself
Knowing at least one person will always hold you dear
When someone loves you so gratefully
Like your very presence is a gift
It keeps you grounded in what really matters
Saving you from floating adrift
When someone loves you without measure
So big and so deep a heart can’t contain it
You sense the other worldly magnitude of it
Even though you can’t explain it
When someone loves you because they believe
It’s what they’ve been put on this earth to do
How can you not believe
That it is so lucky to be you?