Foot! Grandkids are great

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It is interesting to see your feet at the end of another person’s legs. Wait, let me put that a different way since my feet are still attached to my legs.

It is interesting to see a copy of your feet on another person. That is what I saw Sunday afternoon as I sat with my right foot pressed against my middle grandchild’s foot.

Now I don’t remember how we got into a foot discussion/comparison — probably as an offshoot of a cute shoe conversation. Anyway, we started talking about foot sizes and shapes and realized our feet matched.

“My feet are long, but my heels are skinny; see,” said my grandchild, Allie, as she held her feet out for me to see.

“So are mine,” I said, stretching my right foot out to meet hers.

Sure enough, we both have narrow ankles and long toes. And, on our right feet, the toe beside our pinky toe tucks under the one next to it. We both laughed at that.

Yes with the exception of a slight difference in the length of our second toes, our feet are exact copies. Now that might seem kind of a silly thing to notice and to write about, but it got me thinking about what grandmothers pass down to grandchildren.

As we did our foot comparison, I recalled a conversation with my daddy’s mother about how my feet were kind of like hers and I shared that with Allie. I remember at the time I was quite proud to “have” my grandmother’s feet. Made me feel special.

Over the years, I’ve noted other things about me that echo my grandmothers. Both of them loved to read, and so do I. One of them wrote a social column for the newspaper. I remember her talking about it and seeing the paper with her name in it. My first writing job was social editor for my local paper.

The other grandmother liked nothing better than sitting beside the water with a fishing pole in her hand. While I don’t fish as much as I did once, I still enjoy it and I crave time spent sitting by the water.

Both grandmothers were gardeners and loved to cook, two things I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember. As I thought about what I have in common with my grandmothers, it occurred to me it might be exposure as much as genetics that caused the similarities.

Perhaps, it is the feelings I associate with certain activities that caused me to adopt them as my own favorites. Maybe, what drew me was how special and loved I felt when we were together. I always knew my grandmothers liked being with me and they really listened when I talked. That made me feel appreciated and acknowledged. What child doesn’t want to feel that?

So now I’m the grandmother and I understand the amazing gift that comes with the arrival of grandchildren.

Grandchildren allow you to experience youth again, to jump into the joy of being with kids without the responsibility of parenting those children. It’s an opportunity to let yourself be in the moment, enjoying whatever comes along whether it’s listening to a story about a school trip or watching a child create something wonderful on a canvas, using paint and a spray bottle filled with water.

It’s the wonder of seeing a copy of your feet and knowing the girl pressing her foot into yours may find herself sitting with her grandchild someday and remember with a smile this Sunday afternoon spent with you.