I’m thrilled to welcome my dear friend, the talented blogger and photographer Leticia Alaniz (http://leticiaalaniz.blogspot.com) to Reel Mama! Leticia and I have been friends since she first appeared as the Virgin of Guadalupe in my short film “Holy Tortilla” (she is also a noted actress of stage and screen in Texas and Mexico). It is no surprise to me that Leticia writes so beautifully about the unconditional love of grandparents, because she shows that same unconditional love as a friend, mom, sister, and daughter.
The unconditional love of grandparents
What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? Many of us have very special memories with our grandparents. In every culture in every corner of the world grandparents are a very important part of our lives. The history of our grandparents is remembered in the laughter and tears of children and their children’s children.
Perhaps our parents and we as parents do not have the simple and pleasurable opportunity to enjoy and spoil our children as our grandparents did with us, and now our parents do with our children. Our parents had the difficult task and duty of raising and educating us. There was not enough time in the day after performing all of the parenting duties to enjoy the hot cup of cocoa in bed, or to eat crumbly delicacies under a blanket while reading a book with a flashlight at night with our children.
Grandparents are parents with a second chance to love and give their hearts — without rules — to our children, the way they could not do for us. They are God’s gift to children, and they are the givers of wisdom. Our grandparents loved everything about us, and now our parents love everything about our children.
Grandparents give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, and teach very important lessons in life. What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. Our grandparents accept us for ourselves. It is one of nature’s ways that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us.
Grandmas make our children feel as if she has been waiting to see them all day and now the day is complete. Grandparents never seem to run out of hugs, kisses, patience, and best of all, cookies. They say that grandmas are mothers with lots of frosting, and that perfect love does not come until the first grandchild. They are experts at sneaking into the kitchen at night while everyone else is sleeping to give us a warm, frothy cup of milk that only grandmas can give with so much unconditional love. It is the best milk we ever had.
Rosemary Wells’ ‘Yoko’s Paper Cranes’
Everyone has a story of their own grandparents, and beloved children’s book author Rosemary Wells offers us a very nostalgic story called Yoko’s Paper Cranes. This is a story about making traditional Japanese origami paper cranes and letting them fly with your heart to those you love, even if they are thousands of miles away.
Yoko is personified by a little kitten who lived in Japan. When she was very small, she and her grandmother, Obaasan (“grandmother” in Japanese), fed the cranes in the pond of her garden. Every year the cranes migrate from Japan to warmer climates, then return in the spring. Yoko’s grandfather, Ojiisan (“grandfather” in Japanese), teaches her to fold paper into cranes.
When Yoko grew up her parents decided to move to America and take Yoko with them, but Yoko never forgot Obaasan and Ojiisan. Every week Yoko wrote letters to her grandparents, and every week they would write back. Obaasan’s birthday was in winter, but Yoko had no money to buy a gift, so Yoko asked her mother for beautiful paper.
She folded many paper cranes and sent them as a gift to Obaasan. She wrote on the paper cranes, “Soon I will come back to Japan, just like the cranes. Happy birthday from Yoko.” Obaasan and Ojiisan hung Yoko’s cranes in the kitchen window, and they turned on their strings and fluttered in the air.
“Yoko’s Paper Cranes” is a delightful book to read out loud with your children and grandchildren. It is beautifully illustrated with so much sentimentality and features the special relationship of Yoko and her grandparents, proving that even thousands of miles of distance will not break the bond between them. It is the special bond between generations that keeps traditions alive and teaches us that what we love and cherish will eventually return to us.
Visit Rosemary Wells’ website at www.RosemaryWells.com to find out more about her wonderful books.