That online definition also included: ”An older woman who is powerful within a family or organization."
As I get older, I realize that I am, at least, the first definition of a matriarch. As far as being powerful within my family, they would have to be consulted for the truth. They confessed that they don't think of me as "matriarch". Though when they told me how they do think of me, it fit perfectly the definition of matriarch. But, a title I don't need.
What I do know is that my grandchildren often make me feel that I hold that position and when they consult me I know it is because they respect what I have to say. And I am grateful for the opportunity. I want them to know me and how I think and what I have valued in my life.
Before my granddaughter was to be married she sent a letter to a few chosen friends and family. She wanted to know how she 'showed up to people' who matter to her most. Because, she said she wanted to do more 'self reflection to become the person she needed to be before she took the next step to marriage.' She said she wanted 'brutal honesty.' A courageous ask.
I was, at first, puzzled, because to me, she is perfection. But I also realized that she doesn't see herself the way I do..and wants to be the very best person she can be in her own eyes. And so I sat down and wrote her straight from my heart:
My darling granddaughter,
In response to your letter, I am going to be "brutally honest", since that’s what you want.
You are as perfect a person as I could ever hope to know. You are kind, gentle, caring, loving and warm. You are intelligent and interesting because you have considered opinions that matter in this constantly changing and evolving world. I encourage you to stay connected to what is happening in our country and the world. We need to elect someone who can steer this country back to being a force in the world, where the United States will be once again respected. That means looking at the candidates and voting with your best intelligence. We can all become involved with what our close up world is about and forget that there’s a whole universe out there that needs our attention and care. I think you know that already. I am so very proud of what you’ve done by creating your healthful food business and never forgetting that there are those in need of what you offer to whom you cater without charge.
You asked for two to three areas where you might need improvement. I can't name even one. Here’s what I think about improving yourself. As we grow in life, we learn what works for us and what doesn’t. Does it pay to carry a grudge about that person who did this, or said that or caused us pain? No. The more attuned you are to the goodness that is in the beautiful heart you have, the more authentic you will be. Let go. Let it be. Move forward. And as you go down the path you have chosen and those you’ll choose in the future, let your intuition be your guide. Never go against that feeling inside that is your true compass. Do what is right for you.
I have had a wonderful and privileged life for which I have always been grateful. I think gratitude is essential for every good thing that comes our way and for everything that is difficult, sad and painful because it’s those very things that are the real source of how we evolve as human beings. So, always know that you have the power within you to transform anything that happens in your life into a source of strength and wisdom. When no one is around to consult, you have an inborn teacher…yourself.
You are an old soul, carrying great wisdom with you when you entered this life. Don’t forget that it’s there. When you were very little we used to consult you about various dilemmas for which we had no answers, just to see what you’d say…finding that what you said made more sense than anything we’d heard from pundits. One day we said to you: "Why is the world the way it is?“ And you said: “Cause it is!” Brilliant. Why question what is and make yourself suffer? It just is!
Even though I am an educated woman, it took me a long time to know that I had many strengths within myself that I had never tapped. I had always been someone’s girlfriend, wife, mother, grandmother until life forced me to find out who I was alone and what I had inside me to sustain myself, physically and most of all mentally and spiritually. I don’t recommend having your husband get sick in order for that to happen, but it taught me something I may not have learned any other way. I learned who I am all by myself and I want you to take great care to know yourself on your own. To build YOUR strengths. To do what YOU want to do for YOURSELF, separate and apart from your husband. It’s wonderful to be a couple, to be able to rely on each other’s strengths but it’s equally important to know that you have everything inside yourself to make it through this life.
My darling, granddaughter you are perfect in my eyes…outwardly and inwardly. You will make mistakes, as we all do. Learning from them will take you further on your path of self awareness. But you always have been and always will remain… a beautiful soul.
You have enriched my life beyond words to tell you.
I will love you forever and ever and ever……….
Bubby (my official matriarchal name)
I leave you with this:
"Children are often spoiled, because no one will spank Grandma."