Celebrating Black Women: Our Grandmothers

The Wisdom Of Our Elders Can't Be Bought

Family, Featured, In My Opinion

In the past few weeks I had several conversations with friends about our grandmothers. One was extremely worried as her grandmother lay ill in the hospital; the other recounted the experience of spending time with family after they decided to take their grandmother off life support; another discussed how it had been a few weeks since she had visited and how she would be spending a portion of her weekend with her grandmother. I shared with them how my grandmother revealed to me that her father’s roots lay in Daufuskie Island and my new obsession with getting there for a visit.

All told, I reflected on myself and all of these women, and how our relationships with our grandmothers has help shape us. At some point in time  each of these woman, along with myself, have shared life lessons that our grandmothers implanted in us through their experiences. These women who are an entire generation removed from our own have rich life experiences that still resonate in our lives in this current day and age. And, if we all are as fortunate as they have been, we will one day be in their same position handing down advice to young women who look up to us.

I’ve often found my grandmother’s advice to be sound and honest, and I can hear her voice clearly in times of challenge when I need a comforting word. She always lets me know when she believes I’m on the right track, and loves me enough to let me know she disagrees with one of my choices. For instance, she will say in a heartbeat you can’t make every dogfight if I’m sharing with her a more than impacted calendar of events. When I’m frustrated by a challenge she will say you can’t have all the answers – if you did, what is left for God to do? Finally, the words of wisdom I hold in the highest regard are when I stress over finances. She reminds me a way is always made and I’ll find myself chanting that until that “way” reveals itself. It hasn’t failed me yet.

In addition to all of this, her mind hold the keys to much of our family history, and those conversation are always priceless. My grandmother is a 21st century griot, her mind packed with stories of how are family came to be in California, memories of oppression and racism that our minds can’t fathom, and knowledge of who she is and where she came from that lines the path of her descendants’ future. I feel so fortunate to have her in my life long enough to transition from “grandmother” to “friend”.

If you are as fortunate as I am to have grandparents in your lives, don’t take them for granted. The wisdom they impart outweighs any information you could find online or in a self-help book. Hold them close, listen to them attentively, and love them unconditionally as they love you.

2 Comments on "Celebrating Black Women: Our Grandmothers"

  1. Ayesha Moore Mar 22, 2011 · 8:41 pm

    I can relate so much to this article. I was fortunate enough to have sound advise and many words of wisdom from both of my grandmothers one if which has past away, and the other who has Alzheimer’s but has been blessed to see her 97th birthday. I love my grandmothers dearly and their words of wisdom has stuck with me. Its seems as though the generations that precede me don’t and wont have same support since children today are having kids at such and young age where babies don’t know the difference between their mother and their grandmothers!!

  2. JCB3 Apr 15, 2011 · 12:43 pm

    Many people are waiting until later to have children now which prevents their children from building tight bonds with their grandparents. My kid will be here in July. My mom is 63 & my dad is 71. By the time my child is a teenager, his/her grandparents will be REALLY old.

    I need to get them on an organic diet so they can be around for a while.

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