After reading a post by chemistry teacher, Dan Allen, on the Energy Bulletin, http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-04-20/my-chestnut-seedlings-don%E2%80%99t-know-economy-about-collapse, I was once again reminded about the plight we've left for our children. I sympathize with Dan and the feelings he has about his daughter’s future as I do with most everyone that is unaware, (children that is).
With Mother’s Day quickly approaching I began to think about what our children really need from us and how we might help them to understand the mistakes we’ve made.
This past January for the first time I became Nana to a beautiful granddaughter whose middle name is mine. We were not surprised to hear of our daughter’s pregnancy as we knew of her wishes to have a baby, but surprisingly to some, we were not elated. We were frowned upon when we didn’t act like other first time grandparents who begin to plan the future of their grandbabies before they are conceived. Our reaction was slow and deliberate as we realized immediately what this meant for this innocent child’s future.
Summerlynn is our granddaughter’s name and her bright blue eyes light up our world. She is here to share her life with us, and all we can do is love and cherish her. She is one of the happiest babies I’ve yet to see and I tell my daughter all the time how lucky she is to have a baby that is nothing short of perfect. I realize though that I’m the Nana.
I spent 4 days with my daughter while she was in labor and I’ve never seen such strength. She reluctantly gave in to her wish of giving birth at home once the baby was in jeopardy. Amazing how moms know what their babies need and we put our own needs aside for the safety of our children.
She was born on my daughter’s 29th birthday and like my daughter, Summerlynn was born healthy and full of life. As I sat waiting at the hospital I remembered how I felt when our daughter came into the world. At 8lbs 9oz she looked as if she was a month old, but it didn’t compare to Summerlynn who was 9lbs 12oz. Wide awake she appeared ready to conquer the problems of the world and I couldn't help to stare in amazement. Born innocent and unscathed our children see nothing but joy. The magical sense of belonging in a world full of wonder makes them curious to learn. If only we knew how to keep this sense about us as we age.
Little did I know in 1982 when our daughter was born, that we would be here today staring into the eyes of collapse and trying to prepare our children for a different life. I want to believe that our daughter, now a mom herself, may have an easier time understanding why we live today as if there is no tomorrow, not because we want to but because it’s necessary.
I only know how to prepare to survive another day, while these younguns only know how to have fun. We are constantly reminded to think "happy thoughts" whenever we stray to those darker corners. Can we not compromise without lowering the bar?
Ten years have passed since I last saw my mother-in-law who is now 84. Recently while she was visiting, my husband and I had the wisdom to ask more questions. We learned that on Mother's Day while four months pregnant with my husband, her and my father-in-law were laying tile on the floor of the liquor store they owned at the time. I know my husband has always enjoyed beer and pretzels but I didn’t know she took him to work with her when he was two weeks old, as they couldn’t afford a sitter. She smiled when she spoke of the joy he brought to the customers faces.
My eyes glazed over with tears as I listened to her tell us of her experience of birth. I also remember listening to my mom tell about the loss of her mom the day after my brother was born. I can't imagine losing my mom just after giving birth though I related a little as I lost my father-in-law whom I was very close to, a couple of weeks after our youngest was born. I remember being told, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” I always wondered why they couldn’t be open at the same time, but I learned quickly without feeling pain, you seldom know joy. Now I don’t let the fear of illusion keep me from discovering the key to open the door though at times I do close the window.
The youth today need the strength to look beyond the sunny, blue skies of wonderment into the dark reality that’s about to rain on them. Every day is another chance for all of us to learn something new that will help not only them but also us. This we owe them, if not more.
Below is a letter that I plan to give our daughter on her first Mother’s Day written by me in the voice of our granddaughter, Summerlynn Elaine.
Though I can’t talk yet, I hope you will allow Nana to speak for me, as I know she holds both of our interests in her heart.
I want you to know that I will always remember the pain you went through to give me life and I will always live knowing that you did this because you wanted me to have the most natural birth possible. I know the natural world and everything that belongs in it is what you hold most dear and I’m so glad that I was born into your arms that now hold me close to your heart. I hope you teach me all that you know about nature so I can learn to protect it from any more harm.
Nana and I have had conversations though sometimes it’s hard not to laugh when I look at her, but I understand her message and it comes from being wise to the world and living the life she has lived. I know she understands how important it is to protect everything that was also given life like me.
I see the passion she has in her eyes when she talks about the birds and the bees but I also feel her pain when she speaks of such life being destroyed every day. I hope you're paying attention to these signs and working towards a better world for me. I know someday when Nana is no longer here with us, I will have your wisdom and strength to fall back on and I feel so lucky to learn from you both while I can.
Through this chain of command we will share a bond everlasting that will help us communicate with each other and try to understand the differences in our lives. I hope we can find some common ground to share what we have learned as even I can offer something.
Though I don’t know much about this world that I’ve come into, I know that I’ve been given a challenge to create a new way of living. I hope as I begin to crawl that I will soon learn to walk and skip down some of the same paths that you both have taken and I hope to learn quickly the way I need to go.
I can’t say that I won’t blame those before me for using up resources that were mine, but I hope with your love and understanding I will be able to forgive.
Now that I’m here please help me to learn all of the mistakes that have already been made by both of you, so I can spend time making my own. I'm sure I won't have time to make as many, so I’ll have to learn quickly what ones not to make again.
I hope on this Mother’s Day, Mama, you know how much I love you and thank you for giving me the chance to visit this place called earth. I want you to know that I will give life my best shot and I hope to always have the courage to proceed wherever I need to go to protect what you have given me.
I love you Mama,
Thank you Nana for putting words in my mouth.
This Mom’s Day I hope women everywhere whether a mom or not will have the courage to speak to our children honestly and not enable them so they have a tougher time of dealing with the truth in the future. Please have the heart to speak openly with them and share the facts about the earth and what past generations have done to it. None of us are immune from fault.