If you wake up and have no aches or pains, you are not forty yet. This simple wisdom tells me that I must be forty already, which in turn presupposes a certain volume of life experience and a desire to share it. When you have adult children, you need to think about the measure: how much and what to share so as to hand down the accumulated family knowledge but at the same time not to over-do it. With today’s rapid advance of technology, we learn all the news practically before an event happens. Young people are usually adept at finding any information they wish via the internet. “That was fantastic!” Penny sighs ecstatically in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”, and Leonard naively blurts out, “Sure, I Googled it!” Indeed, we can Google anything and everything. It does not always mean success but it definitely creates an illusion of one. Is there anything I can add to the modern information explosion? Should I even try to share?
I remember my own Granny talking to me on the phone, giving me some solid advice. I grinned into the receiver, listening patiently; it seemed so funny, I was in my third pregnancy and thought I “knew it all”. My Granny grew up in the typical very large family which is practically no more today. When I look at the one family photo taken a hundred years ago, I marvel each time. Here’s my great-great-grandmother in the center holding the baby, my own future Granny; to her left (my right as I look at the picture) is her oldest daughter, my great-grandma with her husband; and there are numerous children surrounding that formidable central figure, my Granny’s aunts and uncles. Yes, at the time women had kids until they could, so a new grandmother could be a mother of relatively young children. I never knew any of them and yet I can easily see my own daughter’s facial features in their faces.
As Fate would have it, that phone conversation turned out to be the very last talk I was to ever have with my beloved Granny. Next morning, my Grandfather called me, sobbing: she left the earthly plane during the night. As the saying in such cases goes, a quiet angel was flying by and picked her up. It was two weeks before my kid’s birth. I thought of her final words to me a lot, about the coming baby and how to take care of it, above all to be careful in the remaining few days. Though indeed I “knew it all”, they served their purpose simply as a great support, the knowledge that many women in my family went through the same process before me, generation after generation. Now I was the one carrying on the wisdom, transferring the genes into Eternity.
I look at the first image of my future grandchild and feel tremendous love, hope, wonder and awe. Now I ponder the same old questions. How much should I say to my own children? Should I say anything? Sure, I have a lot to share. But it is their own life, their gathering experience, their accumulated knowledge. After the first botched attempt I wait until questions are asked. We talked it over with my husband and agreed that the youngsters do not know much; of course we know better. We decided that we can adjust our own plans, reschedule trips, postpone business meetings and conferences if needed. It means that we are waiting for the same huge event with a difference. We know a lot so we are in position ready to do whatever necessary if and when the occasion arises. Our children are confidently moving on. This is the way of Life.