My mother had a chronic illness throughout most of her life, which led ultimately to her death when I was a teenager. The family rallied around her and my father to provide support, and part of that support was lending a hand in childcare. So, in a way, raising me was a group project.
My grandmother was instrumental in providing that care. A strong-willed woman, she was fierce in her love for me. She taught me a lot - probably as much as anyone else in the family project raising of me.
Now that I am a grandmother, a fact which sometimes is difficult to absorb, I find myself thinking back on some of the lessons she taught me. And I wonder whether I will have the talent to impart similar lessons to my grandchildren, and to be heard.
My granddaughter is three. My grandson is less than a year old. Statistically speaking, I am fairly certain of seeing them grow into nominal adulthood, but I rather doubt I'll see them into middle age.
This causes me fear. Not fear of dying, though I've no wish to leave anytime soon; fear that there are things I could do to help and to guide, and yet I won't be here to do it. I didn't have this same fear with the boys, I think partially because I was younger.
Life has its limits. And it's a fearsome thing, helping launch a human being into the world. Especially when you hear the clock ticking, albeit in the distance.
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