Guest blogger Rabbi Sherre Hirsch: Every year since from my high school graduation until her death last year, my grandmother Laura Dworkin spent a week with me no matter where I lived. (Except the year I lived in Jerusalem in a four story walk up.) It was our week -- just the two of us to spend time getting to know one another.
One year in particular I invited my grandmother to live with me in my sorority house. My mother had given me strict instructions. Her mother is not allowed to eat pastrami on rye, drink a beer, stay out past 10 p.m. We should take it easy. Relax in the living room and enjoy meeting my "sisters."
The first night as we were sacked out in the sorority living room eating pastrami and drinking a beer, I taught my grandmother the secret sorority handshake, sealing our secret in stone. The next morning she slept in when I went to class.
The next night all of us stayed up late eating cookies listening to my grandmother tell us of how much her own dream was to go to college -- and while this was not exactly what she had imagined as a girl, it was pretty close.
By the third night, I thought she would be exhausted. But this party girl wasn't. After dinner and the movies, it took me over an hour to wrap her hair with toilet paper and hairpins so that it would be still "perfect" for our last night. She was not about to let a bad hair day ruin her fun.
By the time she had to return to Columbus, Ohio, I was not ready to let her go. Having her as my "roomie" was better than any roommate I had ever had. (No offense !) But she told me things about my mom, her life, her loves that I have stayed with me to this day. The wisdom she imparted to me on that trip and many others that followed have guided me throughout my life.
My grandmother told me things that my mother couldn't. She was not my parent. She did not have to worry in the same way as my own mother about what I would do with the information.
Today when my own mother -- now a grandmother -- picks up one of my children to whisk them away for the afternoon, I basically have no idea what they are doing. Sure, I give "suggestions" but I imagine they break them just like I did. That is the beauty of being "the grandmother." You get to break your own parenting rules for your grandchildren.
Sure, last month when my mom gave M&M's to my kids for breakfast, I was annoyed, but I reminded myself that the meaning of the relationship is far more important than any candy.
Just wait -- when my children have kids, M& M's will be nothing.