Family: Granddaughter off to university

Treena Mielke

The summer of 2021 is slipping away like sand in an hourglass.

And before we know it, September with all its beauty and brilliant colours will have descended upon us.

I noticed the leaves this morning in my backyard, actually. Brilliant tangerine and orange leaves fluttering in the green grass, almost like they belong there.

“Oh, my goodness, not yet” I thought to myself as I poured coffee into my favourite mug, the one with the faded blue basket of flowers on it. “I’m not ready.”

But, regardless of the fact that I’m not ready, the season will change, and fall will arrive right on schedule.

That being said, there is another huge change happening in my family.

My oldest granddaughter, bless her heart, has somehow managed to grow up despite the fact that all the unsuspecting adults in the family kept on thinking she would stay our precious little girl forever.

That, of course, did not happen and, even as the green leaves of summer gradually change to the brilliant crimson and gold of fall, she is moving on and soon, the University of Lethbridge will welcome a brand-new student.

I took her for lunch yesterday.

We ate our lunch on a windswept patio sitting under a little thatched umbrella. To our left was a busy highway and across the highway we could see the lake, stretched out in deep blue magnificence under a matching summer sky.

It was quite awesome, really. I have always loved the lake and its many moods and its many shades of blue and it seemed fitting that I was having lunch here on this day with this very special girl.

I wanted to make the lunch special. I wanted to portray some grandmotherly wisdom and leave this beloved grandchild of mine with some of my own profound knowledge that I have, hopefully, gained over the years. Mostly, I wanted to be a cool, yet mature grandma who warranted more attention than a cell phone.

I didn’t succeed really.

But, in the end it didn’t matter.

I showed up. She showed up.

She took the time to drive out to Sylvan Lake to have lunch with her grandmother even though she has about a million and one things going on as she prepares for this huge change in her life.

Off to university. Who knew?

It’s a huge move, we both agree as we eat our lettuce wraps and wings.

“It’s the end of an era, grandma,” she says solemnly, reaching for another wing.

“Yes, it is,” I agree. “But you’ll do fine. I have every confidence in you and I’m so very proud of you.”

I realize that sounds quite generic, actually. It’s something any grandma would probably say to their granddaughter or grandson who is leaving for a brand-new adventure.

But, whatever. It’s true. It’s so very true. And I had no words of wisdom, really, except to say, “I’ve got lunch.” It seems teenagers, whether they are leaving for university or not, always like to hear those words.

“I brought my violin, grandma,” she said when we got back in the car. Do you want to go make some music?

For me, the words themselves were like music.

“For sure,” I said. “You bet I do.”

And I thought to myself it is true some things never change.

And that is good!

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.