First there was Clara and Amos, who became Grandma and Papa. Then there was Orelia and Alvin, who became Grandmommy and Granddaddy.
Today, Roger and I, better known as GG and Poppy to our four grandchildren, continue the celebration of Grandparents Day [which was Sunday], and are trying real hard to live up to the standard these four set long ago.
I was blessed that all four of my grandparents were around at some point during my formative years, and they had a powerful and profound influence on the woman I have become.
My paternal grandparents lived next door, so going in the back door at their house without knocking was standard procedure.
Grandma always had cold biscuits on the stove and a hug to pass along. Papa was always outside piddling in the yard, wearing his denim jumper with pockets full of candy.
My parents lived with my grandparents during their first years of marriage, and my mother told us stories about them and bailing wire.
I’ve never seen this concoction, but she said if it couldn’t be fixed with bailing wire, it couldn’t be fixed.
Mom would mimic Papa, “Claire, hand me some of that bailing wire,” and he’d get busy fixing fences, mailboxes, roofs, everything. She said it was today’s duck tape, and they kept it on hand at all times.
My maternal grandparents lived close by until most of us were born, then they moved up north to seek their fortune. A few years later, they got divorced and kept the gossipers busy for months.
Both grandparents remarried, and that brought on a whole other cast of characters; but Alvin and Orelia remained two of the most wonderful grandparents any child could have.
My grandparents were strong, principled, kind, beautiful and amazing role models — OK, they were pretty much perfect in my opinion.
When my last grandparent, Granddaddy, died shortly before my 40th birthday, it was like I immediately had to grow up, because my age of innocence had ended.
As my children and grandchildren came along, I got to experience an eternal, generational, love affair begin again.
My parents adored and indulged our children and let them get away with all kind of things they never even discussed with me.
Roger swears that when he was growing up, his mom wouldn’t allow them to even have a goldfish.
One day shortly before her 2015 death, he visited and there were dogs running around, and she let him know they belonged to the grandchildren and they weren’t his business!
By the time my grandchildren came along, I was much less frantic about stuff that used to matter.
I decided if I had to choose between meetings or grandchildren events, it was absolutely a no-brainer which it would be.
Our grandkids are now 28, 23, 12 and 11, and our great-grandson is 3. Where did the time go?
If your Meemer, Granny, Big Momma, PawPaw or Grand is still around, take a moment to call, visit and reflect on the lessons they taught and lived.
I can still hear: “Never quit;” “If it’s worth having, it’s worth asking/working for;” “Do right and right will follow you;” and “When you’ve done your best, that’ll always be enough.”
If your grandparents are already gone, honor them this week with a kindness done in their name.
Look around; there are lonely elders who could use some doting and attention, so adopt a new set. Better yet, select a really cool grandparent name and borrow a child who needs hugs and affirmation.
This Grandparents Day, I thanked God for creating this package of pure love and hope and for labeling them grand, for that is exactly what they are!
CYNTHIA A. BOND HOPSON, Ph.D., of Cordova is a native Tennessean, educator, author and mentor. She and her husband, Roger, lived in Paris twice. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook@drbondhopson.