The other day we held a surprise 80th birthday party for my mother-in-law. We were all invited up the coast to a restaurant where Grandma was supposedly just out for lunch with my sister-in-law. Imagine her surprise when her two other children turn up with grandkids in tow. Also in attendance were Grandma’s brother and his wife and her older sister, a sprightly 86 year old.
Whilst I was looking forward to seeing my mother-in-law, I hadn’t seen some of the others in years and wasn’t sure what to expect. I need not have worried. Within a few minutes, my husband’s aunty came over to where I was sitting telling me she wanted to catch up with me as she hadn’t seen me in so long.
Let me picture this for you. Mrs B is probably not a smidgen above five feet and as thin as a reed. Her hair is white and fluffy and styled in short waves around her dainty head. She was wearing a pink floral dress and a long string of pearls.
What followed was a truly entertaining hour. Mrs B is a born storyteller. Bright as a button, as they used to say, and as forthright as they come. I guess that by the time you get to that age, you don’t give a hoot about what anyone else thinks. I was jealous. One day soon, I hope to be that confident too.
She was telling me she went to have a chat to her branch manager as she had been receiving marketing calls from the bank. She said to him, “I don’t call you after hours, so you shouldn’t call me after hours.” Apparently the calls stopped for a couple of weeks and then they resumed, so she patiently wrote to head office and repeated her request. “These days the branch managers can’t do much, dear.” She said to me. We may have to change the saying: ‘from the mouth of babes’ to ‘from the mouth of elders.’
When I was retelling the story later to Miss Dee (who had been busy playing with her cousins), she nodded sagely. She is always at us to go and visit her Great-aunty. Whenever she goes to visit Grandma, she likes to visit Great-aunty too as they live close to each other.
You see, Miss Dee not only enjoys the time she spends with Grandma, but she actively seeks to do so.
Shortly after the birthday party, Miss Dee went up the coast to visit of her own volition. I don’t know that many fourteen year olds who still cherish their grandparents, but Miss Dee is one of them. My view is Miss Dee gets as much out of those visits as Grandma does.
Yes, sure, we are lucky that Grandma is not only a really nice person, but she is also fun, knowledgeable and sharp. There is never a boring moment with her around. She claims she is the lucky one; that she hears the bad stories from her friends about their daughters-in-law but she can’t relate. “You two,” she said to me at the party, “are truly like daughters to me. Both of you are marvellous. Different of course, but marvellous.”
When we went to pick up Miss Dee from the ferry on the return from her three day visit, my husband asked her if she missed the internet. Miss Dee shrugged her shoulders. “Nah,” she said. This from the girl who owns a T-shirt that says: ‘Home is where the internet connects automatically’ and who starts requesting urgent assistance from our local technical engineer (Dad) if the internet becomes even remotely slow.
She cooked biscuits with Grandma; she visited with Grandma’s friends who showered Miss Dee with presents (some of those more suitable to pre-teen kids, but Miss Dee did not complain). They went out for dinner and had pizza one night and fettuccini boscaiola the next and they discussed the family tree (Miss Dee has traced it back to the fifteen hundreds on one side).
She had a great time, thank you very much.
I am hoping she picked up on some wisdom too, even if it gets tucked away until
Wisdom has no expiry date. In fact, it seems it just keeps on getting better. Something to look forward to.