Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Being a Nonna

Being a grandma and a Witch isn't exactly a well-covered topic, not in today's world and not w/r/t young children. That's all I'm saying. Well, no, of course, with Gemini rising, that's NOT all that I'm saying. I do, in fact, have lots more to say. I've been thinking a lot, lately, about how a generation of Witches who came of age amongst odd- and often only-true-due-to-need tales of family trads, are, these days, raising Witches in, who knew?, family trads.

My brave and brilliant Son and my wise and generous DiL are, AFAICT, agnostics. Having grown up deeply embedded in Catholicism, one of my main goals as a mom was to raise Son w/o any religious influence, at all. He did spend a few months in high school investigating the Society of Friends, a religion in which the First-Ex.-Mr.-Hecate's family was deeply and literarily immersed, and that was ok with me.

There are three rooms on the Eastern side of my tiny cottage: my bedroom, the ritual room, and the guest room. As the middle room, my ritual room is the darkest of the three. That room is lined with bookcases, and those bookcases are topped with stuffed ravens. So it's not surprising that, for the first years of his life, G/Son has generally seemed a bit afraid of and avoided my ritual room whenever he's been over here.

Recently, however, my almost-five-year-old (how the Hel did this happen??!!?!?!?!) G/Son has taken to wandering into my ritual room and checking things out whenever he's visiting. One of the first things that he noticed, enthralled as he's always been with swords and Medieval weapons, was my green-stone-sheathed athame. Last weekend, he wandered into the ritual room, picked up my athame, and said, "Nonna, does this do spells?" My general policy is to answer his questions about my religion in a very matter-of-fact way, neither proselytizing nor being defensive. We'd been talking earlier in the day about how some of Nonna's friends are staying inside the most important space in Wisconsin to stand up for workers' rights. So I said, "Yes, Nonna uses that to do spells. It helps her to get into a space where she can send energy to people who need it, like her friends in Wisconsin." G/Son said, "Or, we could send medical supplies to those in need."

I have no fucking idea where that came from, but I said, "Yes, or we could send medical supplies to those in need."

And, so we did.

I can't imagine that I've ever done anything to deserve the gift of being this old soul's Nonna. Like playing the balalaika, it's a gift. I'll take it.

Tonight, G/Son was having his bath and explaining to me that he's read all of the books at his level and now he's working his way through the "reading folders" at his school. He said, "You know, Nonna, I'm going to be a very serious reader, even for my family." And I said, "Yes, I believe that you will be." Again, no fucking idea where that came from, but this child does come, on both sides, from some people pretty committed to reading. You do not want to get between his other grandma and a book. Seriously.

I do not know how to be this old soul's Nonna. I am just making this up as I go along. Maybe there was a scroll in the library at Alexandria that explained how to do this. I am sorry tonight that it burned. I wish that someone had copied it. But the only bit of advice that I'd have to add to that scroll is: just tell the truth.

Also, send medical supplies to wherever they're needed. Do it with the athame.

When I die, I want that athame to go to G/Son. I think he already understands how to use it. And, if he doesn't, I'm charging some other grandmother to teach him how.

Picture found here.


Makarios said...

"Maybe there was a scroll in the library at Alexandria that explained how to do this."

If there had been such a scroll, there would have been monuments to the author(s) in every city, town, and village in the known world at that time.

Sounds like you're doing just fine without. "Tell the truth" is a good place to start--and, of course, I wouldn't imagine you doing otherwise. And children who are told the truth will likely grow up to be truth-tellers themselves. No small thing in today's world. Also no small thing is the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood; and I suspect that this is another gift that you'll be giving to your grandson.

Blessings and warm thoughts to both of you.

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of those things where even if there is a scroll, it has to be rewritten by each new generation. I admire the job you're doing from the bottom of my heart. Bright blessings to you both!

Bobbi said...

As a mom of twins who each are embarking on starting their families...this scares the shit out of me! If you should find said scroll.... or a copy of said scroll, please let us know!
Until then, my plan, just as yours, will be to tell the truth. It's really the only way to go. ;-)
Love and Blessings!

Anonymous said...

He sounds like such a joy to be around.

I wish I could have a special room for Ritual, Meditation and such. Alas, I am not a Crone yet, I am still a Mother and our extra room is a playroom for my Littleman.

Also, when Littleman asks questions about Religion, I always answer "I believe....but everyone has different ways of believing and no one way is right or wrong." I am not raising a Pagan child, I am attempting to raise an open minded child you can feel confident on whatever path he chooses.

Anonymous said...

I too am called Nonna and my very first grandchild will soon be a year old. I'm learning by baby steps, just like I did when I was learning to be a mom. (except this time around it seems to be a whole lot more fun!) I think you're going down the right path for you and your G/son and I can't wait for the day when my G/son and I can start having conversations like that.

CrowsFoxes said...

Hecate, a book for you; The Soul's Code by James Hillman. Your little man is showing you his "acorn" his reason for being here. He chose you for his grandmother for very specific reasons -- and you are doing the right thing -- keep telling him the truth.

Marcellina said...

An "old soul" child will need a grandmother who can remind him, in many demonstrative ways, how to be young! And I know you have that in you.

Anonymous said...

Let your old soul teach you too. My daughter is an old soul. Ironically, she has Asperger's Syndrome, which is on the Austism scale. She does not suffer fools, tells it as it is and has taught me to be more tolerant and accepting. She is now 27 and we are always honest with each other without judging and that is how it should be with everyone. Most of all, people should be able to choose for themselves. I was raised Roman Catholic but by age 9 I didn't want anything to do with it. I had to go on to be confirmed to please my parents and be married in the Church to please my ex-mother-in-law because I was young and conflict shy. Neither of my children were baptized though and neither were brought up in any organized religion although we discussed God, religion and spirituality with them both. Both are Atheists although my daughter is an expert in the Bible, Koran and Torah. She can shoot down fundamentalists arguments and make them cry for mercy in a heart beat.

Lee said...

On the subject of books, (and on the off chance you haven't found them yet,) I heartily recommend Terry Practchett's "Tiffany Aching" series. I'm on the last book of the trilogy now and will be quite sad when it's done. Tell me this man doesn't know what a witch is...

left rev., proud cheesehead said...

From one Nanna to a Nonna, I'd say you put your beautiful finger squarely on what makes the Grandparent/Grandchild relationship so special.

My grandspawn has already been to his first protest and I couldn't be prouder of my daughter, pushing through all the challenges of being a teen mom doing it mostly on her own, deciding that this is a priority for him and for her.

He'll be one in March and he's getting an IWW hoodie from his Nanna, for sure, to keep him warm on those chilly marches :)

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