As millennials, we have seen many things change and technology advance to a profound degree in our relatively short lives. Imagine what your grandparents – or even great grandparents – have seen in all their years.
As I go to visit my grandma, who I admire so much, I start to reflect on what it will be like after she is gone. She has taught me so much growing up, from cooking to gardening to sewing. What I will miss the most though is none of these things, because these skills will always be with me to use. No, what I will miss most is her stories.
We think of our grandparents as just that, our grandparents. They are our parents’ parents. It is hard to imagine them as anything else, but once, they were our age. Each person’s story is different, but each generation has similarities in their stories.
Each year we get closer and closer to losing the last of a generation that has seen a technology revolution. I know that many of our grandparents did not grow up with a television in the house. I have heard so many stories from my grandma about her helping out on the farm growing up.
The story that sticks out the most from my grandma is the story of when she was born. It was a very wet spring and my great grandma went into labor. Now they lived on a dirt road, and it was just completely turned to mud. So my great grandpa had to drive their tractor and pull the wagon that she was riding in to get to the gravel road. There was a truck waiting for them there to take them to the nearest town. My grandma told this story as if her mom riding in the back of a wagon being pulled by a tractor while in labor is completely normal. I just cannot image being bounced around like that. And those sarcastic comments that a lot of grandparents make about having to walk uphill in the snow both to and from school? A lot of those are most likely based in some part of the truth.
Why is any of this important? Because when your grandparents are telling you these stories, it is not to bore you, it is to share a part of them with you. And someday, you will think back, and try to remember those times with your grandparents. You may not remember the stories they tell, but you will remember the feeling you had when you watched their faces light up while their thoughts were consumed by the past. One day, you may be sharing your own stories with your grandchildren and will want them to listen.
So sit with your grandma or grandpa the extra ten minutes while they finish a story. They will appreciate it more than words can express. Oh, and do not forget to give them a hug and tell them thank you when you say goodbye.