At eighty something, my husband’s grandmother is a hoot. She is just as likely to make sweet fun of someone who is taking life a little too seriously as she is to gift a sentimental little token connected to the heart. When I am in her presence, she has a beautiful way of touching my spirit while simultaneously putting all of life’s chaos into perspective. Unfortunately, my husband and I do not get to see her as much as we would like. She lives deep in the woods in New Hampshire with my husband’s (grandfather) ‘Papa.’ On a recent ride back from a New Hampshire visit though, my husband told me a few stories about his childhood. (His grandparents used to live only a block away when he was little before they moved to New Hampshire.) As an afterthought, he mentioned that he and his brother spent every day at ‘Grandma’ and ‘Papas’ ~ except Thursdays. On Thursdays, "Grandma took the day off."
I have been thinking a lot about Grandma’s ‘grace’ lately and her capacity to, even years ago, cultivate balance with the busyness of life. She was on my heart as I sat in the Central Falls High School auditorium to celebrate the journey/ending of our i3 WE ARE A VILLAGE Family Engagement grant. The 3 years have come to an end and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform was giving a report on their findings. Parents, Community Partners, CF faculty and staff celebrated all of the progress made in the last 3 years. Goals for the grant were related to improving student attendance, improving safe classroom behavior and increasing/improving family engagement within our school community. Last year, our attendance combined between our two early childhood buildings was 89%, incidences of unsafe behavior in the school had decreased and the incidence of parent participation in school activities was 87% at Captain Hunt School and 51% at Robertson School. Our parent participation scores were particularly powerful because of research on student capacity to improve performance when their family is actively engaged in school family engagement activities. All of that information was exciting but I was particularly impacted by amazing Moms like Carmela and Rosa from Captain Hunt who presented to all of us about how they have volunteered/participated within i3 initiatives. I was/am in awe of how many of our parent’s work/volunteer non-stop, almost 24/7, in order to make a difference for their children and families. At that event, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the devotion, dedication, and stamina of our parents. The teachers, faculty, staff and I are so grateful to, not only have participated in the i3 grant over the last 3 years, but to have the privilege of partnering with so many amazing Moms/parents.
As I sat in the auditorium, though, and clapped for the Moms who were presenting, ‘Grandma’ was on my heart. She was resonating deep in my soul for the Moms who we were celebrating on that day and for all of our CF Moms. If only I could gift each one of our phenomenal Mom’s with a 'Grandma's Thursday;' a moment, an hour or a day when Moms are able to intentionally breathe and honor all that they do each and every day on behalf of their little ones.
Beth Tanner, MS Ed