There is something about a grandmother’s love.

I had dinner with my grandmother last night, with my husband and our sons.

It was her birthday. I can’t say her age. It is not allowed. But it doesn’t matter, does it? What matters is I had dinner with my grandmother last night. Here I am, a woman with a husband and a high schooler and a tween, my own half-century mark in the oncoming headlights, and I still get to soak in my grandmother’s love. I am not the 7-year-old girl sewing pink satin overalls for her teddy bear with her grandmother, or the 11-year-old practicing tap dance routines with her grandmother, or the 14-year-old swimming in her grandmother’s pool “performing water ballet” and imploring her to watch my handstands. I am a grown up. But she is still, as ever, her.

There is something about a grandmother’s love, and a grandfather’s. These days I identify mostly as the Mom, the middle generation, so when I think of grandparental love I think of my kids with their grandparents. I think of my parents and my husband’s parents, and the way their faces beam when they play with their grandchildren, and teach them, of the way they comfort and care.

My sister reminded me that for both of us, our vivacious redheaded grandmother is not just a model of positive attitude, but a source of solace when we are blue. I don’t know what her magic is, but I’ve always known I could find some relief on the other end of her telephone line when I needed it. When, at 15, I had just received the ugliest haircut ever, I dialed her number and she said, “Laura, it’s growing even as we speak.” That did the trick. I stopped freaking out, and she was right: it grew. When I felt lonely, without friends, I called her and knew that even her answering machine would tell me, “I really want to talk to you. Please leave a message.” I called back to hear her recorded voice say it again. It’s not just what she says, it’s how she says it. There is something in her voice that reassures, “everything is going to be okay.” She believes it, so I do, too.

There is something about a grandmother’s love. Even today, my sister, cousins and I feel it. On a phone call, I know that after I say, “Hi Grandma, it’s Laura,” I will receive the gift of hearing, “Laaaaaaurrrraaaa!” in response. As if the whole world is brighter because I am in it.

There is something about a grandmother’s love. It tells you: everything you are is enough.

“Happy birthday,” we say, and we each hug her goodnight. “I love you, Grandma.” I hope she knows how much.

 

IMG_1080

The Fabulous Grandma Lilli

 

And the next generation of grandmothers…

Grandma Joyce (aka "Jujee")

Grandma Joyce (aka “Jujee”)

 

Grandma Fran (aka "Nanny")

Grandma Fran (aka “Nanny”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma Power: Electing Women and Protecting the Environment

This week is the Grandmother Power Blogging Campaign, brainchild of photojournalist Paola Gianturco and writer/inspirer Tara Mohr. The goal: to connect women to flex their power to change the world.

IMG_1080

Me and my grandmother, Lilli, on her (nn%&*st) birthday last year.

And why not? Grandfathers have run most countries and Fortune 500 companies. We could use more healing Grandma power, and Grandma strength. My kids are lucky to have two of the best.

In that spirit, today I bring you my mom, Fran Diamond, in her own words.

   Emmett 114

Take it away, Mom!

My own Grandmothers, Rose and Sarah, gave me love, comfort and life lessons that are with me still. Grandma Rose enveloped me with pure love and endless admiration whether deserved or not. Baba Sarah loved me as much and set an example of humility and generosity. They set a high standard for being a grandparent.

Today my four grandchildren inspire me in so many ways, including the work that I do. Knowing that what I do affects them makes an enormous difference in the decisions that I make and how I look at things.

Graduation 004

For over forty years there have been two themes to my life’s work: Environmental activism and electing pro-choice, progressive women to public office.

In l968, I joined my husband and neighbors to fight against oil drilling along the coast of Los Angeles when it was threatened by Occidental Petroleum and Armand Hammer. After a twenty-year David vs. Goliath battle, “No Oil” won and the coast of Los Angeles is protected from off-shore oil drilling.

IMG_2136

Since l999, I have served on the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Our mission is to restore and protect the surface and groundwater of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. We have made tremendous improvements in water quality. Just looking at the Heal The Bay report card, you can see that many beaches that were given F, D, and C’s before are now A+ most of the time. When I see surfers in the water or families at the beach, and when my grandkids go boogie boarding, l know that my work is making a difference.

DSC02005

That is what keeps me going, as hard as it is at times. When we are debating policy issues and scientific standards, I think what is best for those kids and the future. I see the beautiful, sweet faces of my grandchildren, and I know what I have to do.

DSC00172

IMG_2126

Even before I became an environmental activist, I worked to elect women to public office. In the early 1970’s there were no women in the U.S. Senate, or for that matter the California State Senate. Without women’s voices we don’t really have a representative democracy. Women bring a lot to the table that is different from men. I believe that women are more collaborative and naturally think of what’s best for children and families. It is my belief that when both candidates are equally qualified, we should vote for the woman until we are closer to parity in elective office. Right now there are only 20 women in the U.S. Senate out of l00. Next year we may have no women on the Los Angeles City Council or citywide office. That is shameful. That is not the world I want my granddaughters or grandsons to live in.

IMG_1783

That’s part of why I am working to elect Wendy Greuel to be the Mayor of Los Angeles. I have known and worked with both candidates for a long time. They are both good people. Wendy Greuel, however, is the most qualified and has the leadership skills to move L.A. forward. What I know about Wendy Greuel is that she listens to all sides, can make decisions and knows how to implement them. She knows how to get from A to Z. She is willing to tell people what they might not want to hear. She is tough, decisive and fair. Los Angeles has been a city for l63 years and we have never had a woman Mayor. Now it’s time. I know that both my granddaughters and my grandsons will benefit from having Wendy Greuel as Mayor.

This year I will turn 70. I have never been more inspired to achieve my goals. Maybe it is because of four amazing young people, Rebecca, Noa, Aaron and Emmett my adored grandchildren. Through them I can touch the future. And it is amazing.