top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Saltzman

A Grandmother's Journey 2.0

This week my granddaughter got her driver’s permit and went on a date.


Selam. Driving.

Selam. At the movies with a boy.


Whether I’m ready or not, 15 is here!


Selam is excited. Confident.


“If you write about me. Say what a good driver I am.”


And she is – careful, cautious, competent. She’s been practicing on their property, and it shows.


We’ve gone driving a few times already. The second day, she was maneuvering up a curvy mountain road in my neighborhood when it started to hail. She was unflappable. I tried to mirror that emotion as I held the door handle in a death grip.


A test of my middot (soul traits) for sure. Four years ago, when I published my book, Your Love Is Blasting in My Heart, A Grandmother’s Journey, about how my grandkids informed my Mussar journey, I didn’t think about the opportunities their future stages of development would provide.


Now, as I continue practicing Mussar and learn the art of grandparenting teens, I reflect on how far we’ve all come since the book was published ­­– how I’ve changed, and how Selam and Dian have matured.


What I learned from my young grandchildren is providing a roadmap for their adolescent years. I cultivated the middah of patience when awaiting Selam’s long delayed arrival from Ethiopia. Now I need that soul trait when I’m with a new driver learning to make a U-turn on a narrow road lined with cars. Or waiting for her to exit the movie theatre with her date as the clock ticks well past the time I thought the movie should be over. (I forgot to account for previews and a bathroom break after the show.)


Practicing equanimity during the temper tantrums of a three-year-old who didn’t want to leave the park now provides a foundation for equanimity on Hwy. 73 as she learns to stop at the right place when the light turns red.


In many ways, these new experiences are much more challenging. The stakes are higher – driving on mountain roads is dangerous; dating is fraught with potential heartbreak.


How have I changed? Through my Mussar practice, I hope I have become more mindful about responding rather than reacting. I try to honor my grandkids (and others) by being present, patient, respectful, equanimous.


And the grandkids? Selam and Dian are growing physically, mentally and emotionally. They are developing their own identities, individuating. As a grandma, I am striving to be a loving guide and advocate as they navigate the turbulent waters of adolescence.


After each driving lesson, I ask Selam what she thinks she did well and where she thinks she can improve. Then I give her feedback, accentuating the positive.


I have to admit I'm not always successful as a calm role model. Selam, who is very intuitive, picks up on my fear when she’s driving.


“I think you’re more anxious than my mom. You yelled ‘careful, careful, careful’ when I drove close to the right side of the road,” she reminds me.  Her assessment was accurate. I was sorry that I didn’t better control my reactions and tone of voice.


I will try harder to maintain my calm with her driving…and be gentle on myself. After all, both driving and Mussar take practice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Seder – Order in the Office

My home office has some treasures: A musical snow globe, circa 2002 – gifted to me by a young Jeffco student who organized an anti-bullying rally with my help A color print featuring a George Washingt

4 Comments


donna
donna
Jun 14

What a wise grandmother those kids have nurtured! One question: What movie did she see?

Like
Marilyn Saltzman
Marilyn Saltzman
Jun 16
Replying to

Thanks! The Fall Guy.

Like

salmirall
Jun 14

Selam is fortunate to have you by her side😀

Like
Marilyn Saltzman
Marilyn Saltzman
Jun 16
Replying to

As I am fortunate to have her. Looking forward to honoring YOU this week.

Like
bottom of page