It was a typical autumn morning in New England, framed by fiery yellow maples that blew about in the breeze. My Gram took me past the row of cedars in her backyard to pick wildflowers. She was a painter and she was going to teach me how to capture the intricate blooms of Queen Anne’s lace.
“Make sure there’s lots of water on the brush,” she told me. “And remember there is no such thing as a mistake.” As I painted at the large kitchen table, Gram sat back with her cup of steaming coffee, savoring its bitter scent. I loved this time with her. She would quote poetry or simply tell stories of her life while I gladly listened.
Women need women. Granddaughters need grandmothers. Through every step of life we rely on each other for companionship, advice and support. From a simple morning spent painting to more momentous occasions in life, the fellowship of women is powerful and beautiful.
It is important that we as young women seek out guidance from our grandmothers. Not just our biological grandmothers whom we especially cherish, but all women with crowns of grey. For once they stood where now we stand. They know what it is to love and to bear children, to work hard and build lives of worth, to suffer failure and see dreams come true.
Grandmothers have a strength that comes only from a lifetime of learning and living; we can understand so much about life by simply listening to them. And Grandmothers need us too. They love companionship and they treasure every moment spent with their granddaughters.
Gram taught me many things – to love the outdoors, to seek adventure and to feel the rhythm of music. When I read poetry out loud she always reminded me to read “loud and slow and clear.” She lavished me with volumes of literature and gifts from the seashore. If there was something I wanted to know about nature, I went to Gram for answers.
After she passed away in 2011, I thought my lessons from Gram were over. I was sad to know she would never see me get married or know how much I loved poetry because of her. But on my wedding day, as Gram’s wedding dress hung next to mine, I realized Gram’s wisdom and love is still guiding me even after her death. I will always remember her words to me. And there will constantly be a place in my heart for morning cups of coffee.
So here is my encouragement to young women across the world:
Let us reach out to women of wisdom, because someday we will be grandmothers. Someday we shall turn to the girls around us to share our life stories. We will pick wildflowers together and sip our coffee in the morning light. Our companionships shall be powerful and beautiful.