On Being a Grandmother


I doubt you could find anyone who has enjoyed being a mother more than I have, and that’s because, quite simply, my daughter is spectacular. I may not be much of a domestic diva. I’m a so-so cook, and my housekeeping at times has been legendary (and NOT in a good way), but I have, and still do LOVE being her mother.

And even though a big family just wasn’t in the cards for us, I don’t recall fretting over that. Folks would ask us why do they do this?) all the time about having more children, but I would just blow them off saying that if Erica was the only child we ever had, then that was just fine. She brought more joy into our lives than we probably deserved, so how could we complain. She wasn’t perfect, and neither were we, but we were perfect for each other, and that was enough.

When Erica went off to college I thought the separation just might kill me, but we survived and when she married Steve in 2002, we finally had the son we never had ourselves. But as each year passed with no grandchildren, folks started asking those silly questions again. “Aren’t they going to have children?””Don’t you WANT to be a grandmother?” But you know what, it never ever bothered me. I always figured that even if they never had any children at all, it was OK. I was perfectly content as long as I had them.

But then along came Canaan, born one year ago this very day. I was totally smitten the very second I saw that little wrinkled, red face. It didn’t surprise me that he stole my heart. I knew he would. What surprised me was that being a grandmother feels completely different than being a Mom. For me, here’s the three biggest and best differences.

1. Perspective

When I think back to how it felt to be a young mother, it seems I so often felt inadequate, over-tired and overwhelmed.

When you’re living in those early years, it really can seem like life will always be an unending series of runny noses, dirty diapers and 5am feedings. But now I understand that the nights can last forever, but the years fly by. One moment they’re playing with little toys, and it seems that in the next, they’re walking down an aisle… to graduate to get married… to move away.

This kind of perspective would have been very encouraging. So as the gramma, I can therefore enjoy each moment for what it is. Every toothless smile. Every cackling laugh. Because I know how precious and how fleeting each age (and the special challenges that go with it) can be. 

2. Unconditional Love

All our lives, we’re told to strive for unconditional love… that beautiful selfless love that expects nothing in return. We’re told that only God can love unconditionally, but somehow I feel that it’s almost possible between a grandparent and a grandchild. As a matter of fact, I kinda think that’s whats in my job description now.

As the grandmother, it’s my job to celebrate the fact that he is here, to focus on what makes him special, to help him recognize his gifts and to enable him to see himself as I see him.

It’s the ultimate job – to make sure that at least once in his lifetime, that he can know and SEE the full power of unconditional love.

3. Deja Vu

The most surprising thing about being a grandmother is that each and every time I’m with “C”, he triggers little memories from when Erica was his age. You know, silly little everyday memories that I took for granted 30 some odd years ago. It’s like being given a key to a DVD library that up to know I’ve only had limited access to.

What an unexpected joy to have been given a chance to relive being a mother in the most tangible way possible.

And there’s been a quantum shift in my relationship with my daughter as well. I can tell that she looks at me differently now (maybe a bit more wise), and I know i see her with new eyes as well (SO much more responsible and reliable).

So all in all, how does it feel to finally be a gramma? Well – even though I can’t claim that it makes me feel younger, it really doesn’t make me feel old either. What I mostly feel is blissfully happy.
Through little “C”, I’m constantly reminded of the simple joy of being alive, the wonder of the journey and most of all, the importance of valuing every moment!

And in anticipation of the inevitable questions, “Don’t you want more grandchildren?” or  “When will “C” get a little sister/brother?”, my answer is still the same.

I simply can’t imagine yearning for anything more than I currently have. There’s always room in life for more people to love, especially little people, but I am perfectly content being ‘GaGa’ to this one wonderful little guy!                                                                

And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

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