1. Always hold your pinky out while drinking tea.
It's fun. It can be silly. It is apparently against etiquette in actual afternoon or high tea (http://t.co/xoAeehjzBP), but we didn't care. For gramma and me it was an occasion to laugh, pretend we were fancy, and enjoy ourselves. Every time I drink hot cocoa, I am reminded of her and her sun filled kitchen. I'm brought back to sitting at her little table next to her hand sewn curtains and being the luckiest two people in the world.
2. You can't "pass" at checkers - even if all your pieces are trapped.
When we played checkers, Gramma never went "easy" on me even though I was four. I remember her getting all my pieces in places where no matter where I moved I would be jumped by her piece and mine would be taken. I tried to "pass" on my turn, but Gramma held me to the rules of the game. Just like in life, you may not like the choices you have in a perticular situation, but you still have to make a move.
3. Watching the clock is the surest way to fall asleep.
Like many four year old's, I did not like nap time. I wanted to be up, playing, DOING. Gramma, however, knew I needed to recharge with a nap, and the way she got me to sleep was by telling me I could get up - when the big hand was at the top (ten minutes or so). I would always fall asleep before the time was up- every time.
Remembering to stop and recharge sometimes is valuable even for grown ups. Sometimes, we have to literally stop and watch the time tick by to calm down enough to allow our bodies and minds to rest. The world will still be there when we wake up again.
4. Being manipulative is not nice.
Now, I didn't learn the phrases and what this fully meant until I grew up, but some mornings I would cry and scream as my mom went out the door to work. As soon as the door was closed, I would turn to gramma, clasp my hands (completely scream free and smiling even while the tears were still wet on my cheeks) and say: "So! What are we going to do today? Luckily gramma was able to call my mom at work and tell her I was right as rain as soon as she left, but I just know it broke my mom's heart. Especially now that I am a mom who has dropped her girls at daycare, I just want to say: "Sorry, mom"!
5. Even if they don't all show it the same way, your family loves you.
My grandma was not what you would call the "touchy feely" type. She came from stoic, English farmers. She was also a pediatric nurse at the hospital, and she saw children in extreme situations. She had all the feelings about many things, but she didn't let herself show it most of the time. She would say "I love you" in a matter of fact way, and hugs goodbye with emotions were brushed off. It was only when I got older I realized gramma was trying to protect us from seeing her pain, but it was still there, along with the love, the pride, and joy that went along with life's moments. She just "didn't like a fuss."
6. Go outside and play.
It is good for you, and it is good for your caretakers who need a break from a child's boundless energy. In our high tech world of TVs, laptops, air conditioning and indoor activities, I am often guilty of this one. Our body needs the vitamin D in the suns rays. Our lungs and bodies respond to the fresh air and activity. It feels good to be out and to be part of the world instead of watching it go by from a window. The only way to enjoy these things is to get out and enjoy the world.
7. People remember, and come together around, great food.
Christmas, Easter, weddings, no matter the occasion, my gramma (and Aunts etc.) would all bring food to share. We would all sit down to eat, and even though each dish was brought by people with completely different personalities and lives, all of them would fit together to form a scrumptious meal.
8. A family recipe beats a cookbook.
I have dabbled in various recipes from time to time, and I consider myself a fairly good cook. I can taste something and add this, or add that to bring out the flavor I want. Every time I have started with a random cook book recipe, I've had to tweak it far more than when I started with gramma's recipes that were handed down from her mother, and her mother, and - you get the idea. Passing on family tradition is important. It has qualities that no store bought or catered food can touch. Plus, there is love in there.
9. Tell your family stories often.
And write them down. My gramma was diagnosed with stomach cancer a few years ago. I would drive the couple hours to see her, and the visits were long overdue. In those times, I heard the most amazing stories and the history of our family I didn't even know was there. Stories about my dad and his siblings growing up, stories of my gramma's siblings and growing up, and stories about when I was little. I had no idea about many of them, and I am thankful I took the time to be with her and listen to all of them.
10. Hand-crafted items take love, patience, and practice but are worth it.
Nothing worth having is easy, is the cliche saying that gets tossed around. I think that oversimplifies things. Things should get easier, at times be hard again, and other times somewhere in between. I have super cute patterns that I can do in my sleep, and I have other patterns that are a challenge, and still others that are neither. It becomes a balancing act between growing, resting and recharging, and living. Over time, it all evens out to be a life well spent.
Eclectic crochet fanatic & designer. Mpls, Sci Fi, God, JRTs, girls-6,6,3 & hubs=love. firstname.lastname@example.org