DEAR ABBY: "Loving Grandma in Omaha" was unsure whether it was OK to still hold her 11-year-old grandson on her lap.
Her letter reminded me of the time my 10-year-old nephew and my mother and I were at a restaurant. (Mom had helped to raise him as a baby.)
Toward the end of dinner my nephew went to sit on my mother's lap. I asked him, "What happens when you're too big for Grandma to hold anymore?" Without blinking, he replied, "Then I'LL hold HER." I had tears in my eyes the rest of the evening. -- KATHLEEN C., COMMACK, N.Y.
DEAR KATHLEEN: Smart child. That is what I used to do with my mother. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I was close to my maternal grandmother. Some mornings she would call my mother at 7 a.m. and tell her to take my temperature because I was sick. (She was ALWAYS right!) After I was 10 or so, I grew too big for her to hold, so I'd lie on the couch and put my head in her lap and she'd rub my neck and head.
She died just before my 13th birthday. I was in school, but I "knew" it had happened before I was told.
She had a wonderful Yiddish saying: "Tsuris (trouble) is what you get from children. Naches (joy) is what you get from grandchildren!" -- SENTIMENTAL IN NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.
DEAR SENTIMENTAL: There's truth in those old Yiddish sayings. Here's another: "When a man who has been previously married marries a woman who has been previously married, FOUR people go to bed." But I digress. Back to the subject:
DEAR ABBY: I rocked my son when he was a baby. When he was 6 or 7, he began having minor problems at school. His teacher suggested that I start rocking him again. I did, and within a few days, his teacher began commenting on how much better behaved he was.
I did not rock my son to sleep. We used the time to talk. He would confide his fears, little hurts, good things that happened -- things we would never otherwise have shared. I continued to rock him until he was nearly bigger than I was. It was one of the best things I ever did.
Today he's in college, and a very personable young man. -- PROUD MOM, CEDAR HILL, TEXAS
DEAR PROUD MOM: And I'm sure your wonderful relationship continues.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 32, and I still lie on the couch and put my head in my grandmother's lap. My sister is 28, a sergeant first class in the Army, and she still climbs into bed with Mom to talk. Some of my most precious memories are tied to those moments. Please tell "Loving Grandma" to continue rocking her grandson. As my mom is so fond of saying, "You cannot spoil a child by loving him." -- STILL CUDDLING, DAVENPORT, IOWA
DEAR STILL CUDDLING: Your mother is right.
DEAR ABBY: Grandchildren are never too old to be held and shown affection. I would give anything to feel my grandmother's arms around me just once more.
It has been four years since her passing. I still have days when the pain hits like it did when I first lost her, but I get through it knowing she is always with me. Sometimes, when I need her most, I still feel her arms around me. -- STILL MISSING GRANDMA IN N.C.
DEAR STILL: You have said it well. The people we love always remain in our hearts. The memory of their love and wisdom is their most important legacy.