The love of grandparents is something difficult to explain, which can only be understood by living it.
Grandparents, from childhood, play an essential role in the growth of children, taking care of them and spending a lot of time with them, especially if the parents, for work, are forced out of the house for a good part of the day.
Then, even with the passing of the years, they retain a key role for their grandchildren: who does not remember, for example, the famous lunches at grandmother’s house? Those in which it was forbidden to leave even a single small piece of food.
The best thing we experienced and learned from our grandparents in those years was to understand the value of slow life.
Without technology to fill our days, and often not even toys at their home, we were led to free our imagination, to invent stories and games with what we found around us.
They could be grandfather's typewriter, grandmother's cookie cutters, or toys from when dad and mom were little like us.
Nor can we forget even those moments spent closely with them, moments made of ancient nursery rhymes, card games, stories of a past life, of family and photographs, and of visits to relatives and friends.
We learned “the importance of boredom” because it was thanks to it that our imagination flew free.
We learned the importance of patience and respect because our grandparents were the ones who had really lived through hard times and this is why we always looked at them with admiration, but also with great deference.
Traditions and food
All our stories are made of traditions, handed down from generation to generation.
In Italy, we usually grow up watching our grandmothers cooking and, even in this case, we inherit from them the most important rule to make very delicious food: be patient.
We watched them make, day after day, family recipes, healthy ones with ingredients from the garden, eggs from the neighbour's or cousin's hens and cheese from the farmer who lived two houses down.
Each dish was conceived with dedication and patience, made with love thinking about the loved ones who would eat it.
We got our hands dirty on that table full of flour and laughter, making homemade pasta and cakes for the guests.
In the following years, we all tried to replicate those recipes that did not have weight and measure, because the grandmother did everything by eye, by feeling and, especially, by heart.
Of some of these, only the flavours remain in the mind, with the hope that one day we will be able to remember that fragment that we are missing or, otherwise, to invent others that our grandchildren will pass on.
When the bond with grandparents is strong, memories are the most beautiful thing we carry with us in adulthood. Above all, smells are the ones that most easily take us back in time. Grandpa's shaving cream or cologne, grandma's face powder or rose water.
The scent of breakfast ready on the table on summer mornings in the countryside, the unforgettable mothballs to preserve clothes, the Marseille soap on the sheets hung out to dry in the sun.
There remain indelible memories that are handed down in stories from parent to child.
I think that each of us has asked at least once if our grandparents would be proud of what we have become, of their family traditions that we carry on and that we teach our children, to ensure that their memory always remains vivid and their stories and faces forever remembered.
We don't have an answer for this, but we are sure that their example has helped us understand who we want to be and that, even at the very thought of it, we try to straighten up when we feel we may fail them.
That of grandparents is a precious gift. Kind custodians of a pure and genuine love, which smells of talcum powder and ancient wisdom.