Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
"Mirror Mirror, on the wall"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Becoming a Grandmother: More transformative than puberty!

Becoming a Grandmother:  More transformative than puberty!

I have been more transformed in one year than I thought humanly possible. I lost both my mother and my father only 60 days apart, ending an emotional and tempestuous career as a daughter and on the very day of my Mother’s funeral, I was informed that I was going to become a Grandmother! Without diminishing the significance of Potty training, Carnal knowledge, leaving home, and marriage to name a few important milestones, this trumped them all. Grand motherhood was the most joyful, life-affirming and yet frightening prospect imaginable!  The possibilities are both wonderful and heartbreaking and as every mother knows, usually a combination of each.   

My daughter was 29 years old when she got pregnant.  She had just completed an MBA program and I can only tell you that we were completely off guard.  We thought that she was looking forward to starting her career.  In fact, when she and her husband, James presented Lewis with a father’s day card that said, “I can’t wait to meet you, signed “Baby Fig-Newton”, we just thought that it was cute and reassuring that they were thinking about future dream children.  Finally, they had to spell it out for us, “Mom! Dad! We’re pregnant!”   This was the most powerful experience of the cycle of life imaginable.

Alexis was not a child and had travelled, partied and lived her life well.   She has a loving husband who supports her in everything that she does and was thrilled to become a father. Her timing was great, yet I was so afraid that she didn’t get it.  She never, for even a second considered cancelling her time share in Beaver Creek less than 12 weeks after her due date, was as focused on her career as always, and assumed that she could celebrate her 30th birthday, 6 months later, in an exotic location.  I was terrified that she didn’t understand that in her new life as a parent, weekend jaunts to Paris would have no allure, and one good nights sleep would seem like a dream come true.  

Of course, I prayed for a healthy baby, too.  Even now, I can’t give voice to those fears, but I know that all of you grandparents know what I mean, how we obsess about each developmental step.  When Baby Olivia was a newborn, she never cried, she was such a peaceful baby.  But babies are supposed to cry, and I needed to hear this baby cry! At one point when she started to fuss, I didn’t pick her up or try to sooth her, wanting to be reassured by a loud, demanding wail that this baby was okay.  Of course, I got more reassurance than I had asked for when Olivia was a few weeks old; our usually peaceful baby established a regular fussy period and screamed bloody murder from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. every night for weeks. 

I am so sad that my parents never lived to see Olivia.  I know how much they would have loved her.  Just like me, they would have been thrilled to see Alexis transformed into a loving and devoted mother and to see the beautiful family that she and James have created.

My parents were the proverbial grand parents who would spoil the kids rotten.  I used to tell my father that there should be laws against him.  My Dad would tell my kids that he was their genie and “their wishes were his command”; he never gave them any reason to think that it wasn’t true. It broke my heart that they just missed out on Great Grandchildren by just a few months but I was comforted by the thought that Alexis had been pregnant at the time of my father’s death as well as my mother’s and I believe that Olivia’s spiritual path crossed with theirs.

A very wise woman once said to me, “Grandchildren are the only things in life that are not over-rated”.  “Grandmother”, the next chapter of my life and I love every minute.

Thank-you for reading my first blog and I hope to see you again soon!


P.S.  Of course, as it turned out, Olivia is a Jetsetter.  Alexis took the baby to Beaver Creek but took me along to babysit and we all had a wonderful time.  By six months, Olivia had been to Florida twice, to San Diego to see James family and to Boston a few times.  Alexis and James are wonderful parents and life did change in many ways but their traveling did not stop. 

1 comment:

  1. As parents we will always obsess over something for our children at any age Yet, they progressed from one stage to another, and became independent, productive,and successful young adults. We will always love them not matter what life has in store for them.
    I remember when I became a grandmother for the first time...it was amazing, holding another generation of my family in my arms. Secretly, I remember saying to her, I will always be there for you and hope that we will be friends when you get older. My mother has four grandchildren and my girls are very very close with her. As I watch them with my mom, I hope that I will have that close relationship with my granddaughter.
    Maya is 20 months old and when she sees me and now yells,"Hi Mimi" (which is my grandma name) and runs into my arms, my heart melts...
    I think one of the joys of being a grandparent, is watching our own children parent their own child. Truly amazing! As they watch their child develop and worry about one thing or another, we can say with experience that it will work out and to just love them no matter what.
    I don't want to be the grandmother that spoils them rotten, I want to be the grandmother who will teach her to be independent, and make decisions on her own..and I can start right now. Maya can choose little things, what to wear, what to eat. Believe it or not, helping Maya to make decisions will allow her to believe in herself, and be confident in who she is.
    My granddaughter does not live near me, so I have to make it a priority to visit with her each month. I have done that since she was born. Knowing that I am forming a bond, a special relationship with her, is imperative to me. Looking forward to spending Rosh Hannah with her next week.
    So Anyu, keep writing, and I will also respond, for being close friends and grandparents together is truly special. xo Andrea(Mimi)