I was raised by an amazing woman. Grace was strong, hard working, courageous, but most importantly, FUN. All of the neighborhood kids congregated at our house. She never interfered with our games, but she always had great ideas to keep us busy and playing hard. She kept order with firm rules, but treated each kid with love and respect as if she/he were her own. I have come to appreciate her wisdom regarding the foibles of humanity. “There ain’t nothing like people.” But, I appreciated her most for her approach to humankind in general. “Often the most unlovable need the most love.” And, her secret to raising healthy children? Simply: “Children just need to know you enjoy them.” Go and enjoy and be enjoyed.
Every summer of my childhood, my father’s family would gather at the beach. We’re talking big numbers. Cousins, aunts, uncles--the whole lot. My brother and I are the oldest of the grandchildren and it seemed every summer there was a new crop of squeezy babies. The summer I turned eighteen, our family had a bumper crop of babes. I watched my mother cuddle each and every one. I asked her, “Do you miss us being that age?” She replied without hesitation. “No. I don’t. You were sweet children and I have enjoyed you at every age, but I believe that I like you more as you get older. She paused. “Because I like you as people.” Her greatest accomplishment as a mother was to raise good people. As I watch my sons grow from babies to boys, I understand what she meant.