Tears ready to flow! Love bursting from the heart! Such beauty to behold! I experienced all those feelings on that special day years ago. We were at the hospital for the birth of our first grandchild. I wish I could explain the sense of wonder while looking upon our grandchild for the very first time. This was a moment never to be forgotten. To be able to hold her and cuddle her was more than I can describe. There was so much hope in such a little bundle of joy!
Our Willow was full of curiosity as she grew. She loved to learn. Little Willow was and is everything we could have hoped for in our first grandchild.
I’ll never forget when Willow was a toddler - I was watching her from a distance. Suddenly she began to fall. As she fell, she reached her arms out to me and yelled, “Grandma!” I was not close enough to reach her. To this day, I cannot forget the look of desperation in her eyes, and her hope that I could stop the fall. All I could do was pick her up and console her after the fact. It was such a helpless feeling. *(To my family – we remember another fall where Willow tumbled down the stairs as I watched helplessly, holding a laundry basket and yelling for you all to get her. Sometimes it’s tough being a grandma and a toddler!)
Though Willow is now in middle school, I still cannot stand to see her in any kind of pain or turmoil. Even today, I can still see those little arms reaching out for me and those eyes pleading for rescue. I know struggles and disappointments are a part of life, but knowing this doesn’t make it any easier for a grandma who hates to see her grandchildren hurting.
The other day I was talking with my Willow about school. Willow is a very bright student, bright beyond her years, very well read, interests above her grade level… This is not just grandma talk – this is fact. So I was surprised when she told me she never raises her hand in class, even if she knows the answer. First, I understood completely – because I was exactly that way when I was in school. But then I did a double take, and asked – “Willow you never answer questions or raise your hand?” Willow went on to tell me that she sometimes gets in trouble for talking (Not big trouble grandma!”), but she does NOT like to answer questions (And she knows the answers!). I could not help but feel a little sadness because Willow has many good insights and ideas that could be shared.
This made me think about Socratic seminars or discussions where all students are expected to contribute. Though I know initially this would make Willow nervous, in the end this type of activity would be very beneficial to her growth and development. Believe me – she already has views and opinions. Teaching academic discourse would help her to solidify her views, to express them, to research and support her views, develop her speaking and listening skills, stretch her thinking…
I think about the kind of schooling I hope Willow experiences as she continues in middle school and moves to high school. I hope for an environment where discussions are commonplace. I hope these discussions help students gain self-confidence and respect for one another even when there are differing points of view. My desire is for her teachers to see her as I see her – a bright, free spirit. May Willow “soar on the wings of eagles” with their guidance. May her teachers reach out to her if she begins to fall. And if she does fall, I hope they will pick her up, help her stand again, and show her that she can and will conquer obstacles. May Willow discover how special she is, and use her gifts to serve others. Willow is a child of God with a grandma who loves her very much!