It’s not easy being….a Grandma!
My mother was a worrier. So when I was pregnant with our firstborn, and she told me that our unborn child would never leave my heart and mind, I chalked it up to her worry-wart nature. “Birthing them will be the easy part,” she said. (A statement I wanted to debate soundly with her while in labor.) “It’s the ‘growing them’ that will be tough, and the ‘letting go’ even tougher.” And I still chalked it up to her old worry nature, and wondered if she had ever really ‘let me go’.
Those years, those terribly busy years when the kids are growing, and money isn’t. When everyone gets sick at the same time, and need shoes at the same time. When the laundry never stops, and there’s never enough milk in the refrigerator. And when the only life you seem to have is posted on the refrigerator….all those years and I never once understood, or gave much thought, to the fact that I was still embedded so deeply in my mother’s heart and mind. We had it under control, or as under control as we could get it. And while my mother was always willing to drop everything important to her, to come to my aid, I never realized how much she NEEDED to do that.
Then, our first grand was born. I watched as our big, husky son walked down the hospital hallway toward us, cradling a tiny bundle of pink, his eyes moist with all the emotion one has with a newborn, and my mother’s admonition clanged in my head. But now there was a completely new dimension. I am no longer the ‘mother and mother-in-law’. And while I am the only Grandma Hiebert, I am NOT the only grandmother. And could I share?
Now I am where my mother was. And now I know what she meant. Our sons are still my sons and they are still deeply embedded in my heart and mind. Now they are the ones who meet themselves coming and going, bowing to the dictates of the ever present calendar on the refrigerator. And I worry about the tires on their vehicles, the shoes they all need, and whether they have extra milk on hand. I’m the one who calls daily when I know one of them has a cold. I’m the one who badgers them to know how the grands are handling school and all the drama that can bring with it. I scold and prod, remind and question, and try my best to be available when they need an extra set of hands, or just a place to land now and then. And I know how quickly the time goes, and how there is never enough of it. And often, all too often I fear, I give unsolicited advice–ask too many questions, and..forget.
Only now do I realize how the ‘growing’ of our children changed the dynamics of my mother’s life. She went from cradling and cuddling, to baking cookies and being the place they wanted to be–to being the one trying to keep up, and happy for what time they could afford to give her out of their own busy lives. She went from being the one sought for advice, to the one asking for it. She went from the one giving care…to one needing it.
But I would be ever so remiss if I allowed this post to be a downer. While being the grandma hasn’t always been easy…it has absolutely been beyond anything I would have imagined. I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve loved the family camps and the giggling and the bunk room full of back packs and tennis shoes. And I wonder how in the world their parents keep enough milk in the fridge. I’ve loved the legos and the marbles on the floor, the impromptu silly games they’ve made up, or even sillier songs they’ve sung. I’ve loved watching them try to bat balls off of a stand, kick soccer balls down the field, spike a volleyball over the net, put a basketball through the hoop, and prayed they wouldn’t fall off the cheer stunt. I’ve loved watching them ‘do’ one another’s hair and makeup, the pretty dresses, and the giggles over boys. I even love having them setting on my couch, texting one another. I’ve laughed and cried with them and for them. And I pray, pray, pray for them. I’ love seeing them come, and hate waving goodbye. I probably will always fret and stew about tires and shoes and milk.
I also realize how my role has changed with the ‘growing’ of them. And now they often are the ones showing care..”don’t slip grandma”…”you can sit in front grandma, it’s easier to get in and out”…”You’re not old grandma”.
Mama was right–the ‘letting go’ is the toughest!