Erin's Journals

Monday, June 24, 2024

Just a thought… Speaking words of wisdom, Let it Be. [Paul McCartney]

(taken a few years back in their BC yard)

We had our first FaceTime with the grandkids this past week. They were understandably frenetic and running around to show us the mostly-empty rooms (furniture is due to arrive on the truck today), the latest in snack foods and their uber-cool basement play area. No meaningful conversation, but then, I think those may be taking a hiatus for a bit – at least until we all settle into a routine of when we can sit for heart-to-hearts. And that, I realize, may come only in person.

During a quiet evening before his recent move to Ottawa, I had a chance to sit down with Colin. I felt a need to instill some kind of wisdom before he, his sister, parents and beloved furry family member Sammy (to whom Dottie is as attached as we are to the humans in the family) pulled away to board the ferry to the rest of Canada and begin their week-long drive to Ontario.

Do you remember any advice your grandparents gave you? Or did they just lead by example?

Mine never sat me down and talked to me; it just wasn’t a thing for the generations that preceded us (or at least the ones with whom I’m familiar). But the grandmother to whom I was closest did write in my autograph book long ago, these words:

They’ve always stayed with me. Maybe it’s because I love a rhyme (and I do love those), but mostly because they’re true. And I wish I knew where Gram picked that up, because I haven’t been able to find it credited to anyone else. And I think that they are words that this tough-as-nails depression-era bride lived by through the death of her toddler daughter and the hard times that accompanied living with the moody ladies’ man/musician/artist who was my beloved Grandad Moore.

I had given this a lot of thought. What could I possibly say to a nine-year-old that might stick with him?

I told him two things: to be kind – to remember what a beautiful and loving heart he has and never to let that be crushed by anyone. To know that not everyone will like him and it will be the hardest thing to understand (as it was for me) but that they didn’t matter; all that matters is his kindness to those who need it most. And he’s already living by that advice; it’s part of who he is.

The second bit of wisdom (or at least it is for me) is this, and you’ve heard me talk about it on Gracefully & Frankly with Lisa, and here so often: you won’t be able to control the things around you, so all you can control is how you react. To put it in terms he could understand, we said we didn’t want Lauren to die, but she did and all we could do was open our hearts to love even more people like Brooke, who became his mom, and of course his sister Jane. We decided we would be happy again, just as he is adjusting to leaving his life here for new adventures.

Did any of my words sink in? Who knows with a child that age? He has a mind that can tell you what team won the 1953 World Series, or the jersey numbers of more players than names I know – both in hockey and baseball – but where, in that brain, do these words land?

Perhaps they’ll find their designated home in his heart. And he’ll remember the words that were meant as stitching when it’s breaking, or fortification when he needs it. They have done so for Rob and for me in the past, as they will – hopefully – continue to do in the weeks and months ahead.

And on we go – paddling slowly and looking ahead instead of over our shoulders as best we can.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, June 24, 2024