I have one grandmother still alive, the other is in spirit. I decided to ask her 10 Questions to capture some of her thoughts on being a mother. Noting that both grandmothers are a source of inspiration behind my children’s picture book – MY GRANDMA IS LIKE THE SEA.
From time to time, I like having memories written down; maybe because it makes the intangible somewhat tangible. Or, it is a way of holding onto the sentimental parts of life. So if this resonates with you, feel free to jot down some of these questions to ask any mothers that you can reach out to within your family.
And I must note, the below has been translated into English from my grandmother’s mother tongue.
10 Questions with my Grandmother
- Where were you when you first became a mother?
On an island called Korčula.
2. What was becoming a mum like?
Life changing, but the minute you have a chance to think about it, you have to tend to someone more important than you.
3. Did you have any help?
I lived in a small village on the island and so we always had a community of women to turn to if help or guidance was needed. Times were tough though, I also had to physically work on the fields – tend to the vineyards, gather potatoes for example. By the time I had my second child, my husband left the country to chase the dollar, to help provide for us. Yet some of my most fond memories are from the place I was born. Life was more simple.
4. What activities did you participate in with your children?
In summer, we would go swimming. We would barbecue fish outside the house together. In winter, my girls would always remind me to have the wood ready to keep us warm. Sometimes they would help.
They would engage in imaginative play using vegetables, fruits and flowers. Such as make lipstick using blackberries. It was hard, but I would always find ways to keep them entertained, even if it be creatively.
‘They would engage in imaginative play using vegetables, fruits and flowers.’
5. How did being a mama change you?
Your whole life changes.
6. How do you feel society has changed today since you became a mother all that time ago?
There was a greater sense of community.
7. Was there such thing as mother’s group? A gathering of mum’s regularly?
What’s that? My friend’s lived around the corner.
8. Did you breastfeed?
Yes. My eldest fed for much longer. She would tell me to sit down and feed her. The other weaned much younger.
9. Do you remember being aware of any changes to your body?
I am old now. 83 years old. When I was younger it was a different life. Life was full of force and energy. It is hard to remember, but I was always on the go physically… with my children and working on the fields. My body was able to keep up. No one works on the fields anymore today.
10. Any words of wisdom?
Notice your fingers. They are all different. Different shapes and sizes. Just like us humans. Each to their own. Everyone has their own ways. But see your fingers, they are all connected to the one hand. So have respect for people.
‘Notice your fingers. They are all different. Different shapes and sizes. Just like us humans. Each to their own… But see your fingers, they are all connected to the one hand. So have respect for people.’
And there you have it… 10 Questions with my Grandmother! Something to be treasured as time goes on.