GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - 5

memories and moments

When Nana moved in
BY NAN KIRKPATRICK

M

y parents became first time homeowners in
the Summer of 1958. Moving their family of
five from Brooklyn to Westchester was a huge
step for them. My dad was a small business owner
and my mom worked full time at the telephone company in White Plains. My siblings were 13 and 10, but
I was just 4, which necessitated some real help for
working hours.
Nana, (my maternal grandmother) came to live with
us at that time and although she was already 70, her ability to care for us was never in question. Nana was sharp,
funny and tough. Mother of 10 boys and 2 girls herself,
she knew how to temper the teenage adolescence of my
brother, the incredible exuberance of a four-year-old and
the timidity of a shy 10 year old. My parents were able to
move through their day knowing, that their children were
happy and safe.

"

"She expected nothing less but
respect from all of us, for her, for
any elder, for our interaction with
each other as friends. "

"

She was not able to help with homework, but she was
a disciplinarian who made sure homework was done.
Nana was also a talented storyteller and had a beautiful
tenor voice. She laughed easily and listened wholeheartedly. Affectionate and kind, she created an atmosphere
of acceptance to any friends we brought home and
eventually became the Nana to the neighborhood. She
5 GRAND

NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2018

expected nothing less but respect from all of us, for her, for any
elder for our interaction with each other as friends. She returned
that respect in kind and was very approachable on almost any
subject.
As I was the youngest, I was able to spend the most time
with her. She made everything a learning lesson. She loved the
movies and consequently so did I. We would go on the bus, so
it taught me directions. She used playing-cards to teach me my
numbers and how to write them and count. She used the same
cards to later teach me deductive reasoning, which of course I
didn't realize at the time.
What I admired most about her, (especially looking back with
adult eyes), was that while she was our caregiver, our soother,
our everything all day long, she gently relinquished her role to
my parents the moment they stepped in the door. It was clear
that she was the Nana and they, were the parents, the decision
makers of our current and future selves. Her graceful acceptance
of where her role ceased and theirs began was quite remarkable;
it was seamless. As children, we never played one adult against
the other, we knew it would not be tolerated. She left an indelible
mark on our family life. My mom and dad often remarked that
they could not have done it without her.
Do I think that I could be a live-in grandparent? Possibly,
but I hope I could do it with the strength and dignity she
afforded us all.

Nan Kirkpatrick has been married 43 years. She lives in
New Rochelle, works in Manhattan and is the mother of
three, Nana to six grands between ages 3-11. She loves
to write, refinish furniture and laughing with her family.


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GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018

Contents
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - 1
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - 2
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - 3
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2018 - 5
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