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    « One word: Winsome | Main | Getting burned, plus the GRAND Social »
    Tuesday
    Jan152013

    Bringing out the best

    I have been married a long time. With more than 30 years under our shared belt, my husband and I have seen the best of times, the worst of times, the best in each other, and the worst in each other.

    I must admit—as anyone who has been in a long-term relationship might—that not only has my better half seen me at my worst, he's occasionally been the one to bring out the worst in me.

    Not a pretty thing to admit about the man I've promised to love until my dying breath, I know.

    My husband's not alone, though. My daughters have done a pretty good job of bringing out the worst in me over the years, too. If you have kids, and especially if you have gone through or are in the throes of the teen years, you know darn well how very bad the "worst" in a mom can be.

    Regardless, I still love my husband and my daughters. Unquestionably, unconditionally. I hope they feel the same about me despite that worst part of me they've coaxed to the surface now and again. There's something comforting in knowing I can show my very worst side to the ones I love without fear of abandonment.

    There's something equally comforting, though, in knowing there are a few souls to whom I don't show that unsavory side, the loved ones who bring out not the worst but the very best in me.

    I'm talking, of course, about my grandsons.

    My grandsons have magical powers, I believe, for when I'm with them, I am my best, I do my best.

    When I'm with my grandsons, I don't demand they be on my time as I'm wont to do with anyone—with everyone—else. No, we move on their time, live by their schedule. 

    When I'm with my grandsons, I laugh more, sing more, dance more.

    And I swear far less, for reasons needing no explanation.

    When I'm with my grandsons, I look on the bright side more often than not. Perhaps that's because all things are indeed brighter when we're together, regardless of the side one may look at.

    When I'm with my grandsons, I cook more often, and usually without complaining—even if they complain about what I've set before them, as finicky kiddos often do.

    When I'm with my grandsons, I do more crafting and more creating.

    I do more reading, too—albeit from books with far more pictures than those I typically read on my own.

    When I'm with my grandsons, I do more hugging of little bodies and kissing of little heads.

    And I don't sigh heavily or act like they're silly when they say they have owies here or there on those little bodies and little heads. Which is a far different response than when hearing the same from those with big bodies. Not a sympathetic nursemaid am I—except when I'm with my grandsons.

    When I'm with my grandsons, I move more, sit less. I listen more, preach less. And I model using manners more in hopes of having to point out one's lack of manners less.

    As I stop and look back at what I've written above, I see it's a rather lengthy list of ways my grandsons bring out my best. And as I consider it, I realize this: I should show the same face, have the same demeanor with others. Whether it's my husband, my daughters, distressing relatives, frustrating strangers. I should be my best with all, not just reserve the best of myself for the privileged two.

    So I'll try. I'll try to be my best with and for my husband, my daughters, the world at large. I will do that, I will model that, for my grandsons.

    In the end it's just one more way my grandsons bring out my best—or at least the hope and intention of me being exactly that.

    Today's question:

    Who brings out the best in you?

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    Reader Comments (14)

    Seriously, the more I read about you and your grandsons the more impatient I am becoming to see mine....BORN! ha! My family, especially my husband and son, have been known to bring out my best, and my worst. Thank goodness they love me :)

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Tucker

    I would like to think my children bring out the best in me... but sometimes they just bring out the"No, No, No" Beast....

    I love your post today! My 11 year old granddaughter brings out the best in me...for some of the same reasons that you posted above. She's taught me patience, new music and fashion and to "just go with it Grandma"!

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    While Amara does bring out the very best in me the bigger issue is that she doesn't bring out the beast in me. I try so hard to hide that person from her. I may not have done as good a job as usual this weekend -- my patience just wasn't in huge supply. I think her Mom brings out the best in me much more than she ever used to! Love the pictures!

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Love this post Lisa. A great reminder to be your best and bring out the best in others. I would have to say my hubby brings out the best in me. He never misses a chance to be complimentary. Love that in him.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Spindle

    On a daily basis, now that all seven of my children are grown and gone on to their own lives, as well as most of the grandchildren, and, the great-grandchildren too far away to see often, I think my four pets bring out the best in me because they ask so little in return for loving me whether I'm any good or not.
    The weather brings out the worst in me; at this age, cold is painful and mood wrecking.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Nice, Lisa. My husband says if he'd known having grandchildren was so much fun, he would have had them first!

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

    Great post and so true.

    My Grandkids (99.9% unless I'm really exhausted:) bring out the best in me. I believe that caring for my Mom has also brought out the best in me...so many lessons learned and patience that I didn't even know I had.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    I feel that my grandkiddos bring out the best in me as well. There is just something about being around their little selves that makes me want to be the best grama around and have them feel about me the way I felt about my own grandmother!

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

    I have watched my father in law do very much as you recall here towards my sons. For over 20 years he has given them there very best in him and now, as they are adults they have returned the favor. They love and adore him, make time for him and even take him out for movies and dinners. They chose to spend time with the grandfather who gave so much of his time to them. Life may not always be fair but sometimes it has its rewards.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown

    I hope there are times that my grandchildren bring out the best in me, but reading your post made me feel like I am sometimes a not so good grandmom because I don't have the endless patience that you seem to have with your boys. Just yesterday I had to walk into another room to avoid my worst self coming out with an uncooperative 5 year old.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeanie

    My daughter and grandchildren definitely bring out the kindler, gentler me. And, I could certainly practice those skills with the general public as well. Good idea for 2013.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudy@grandparentsplus2

    I love this post. It's such a sweet reminder of the goodness and life affirming effect of little ones. What a blessing they are. Thanks for such a joyful reminder, Lisa.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    I appreciate the comments, folks! And some new faces today, too. Welcome, Synnove and Terry! Welcome, everyone, actually! ♥

    I gotta say, Jeanie, that I'm not really all that patient and do admit there have been times I've had to walk away from the boys (especially headstrong Mac...and especially at bath time) because they were making me nuts. I'm so far from the perfect grandma, but I'm my best with them. And if I were a local grandma as you are, I have no doubt the boys would see the not-so-best side of me on a regular basis.

    January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs
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