I’m getting a new title. Am I up to the job?

A sonogram of the baby boy my daughter will have in four months.

Some FOFriends bask in their state of “grandmotherhood.”  They talk about their grandchildren as if nothing existed before them. They visit their little bundles of joy every opportunity they can and will drop everything to babysit, take them on outings and whisk them off on vacation. Other FOFs, who haven’t yet reached the state of “GMH,” wait with great anticipation for the news. Becoming a grandmother is one of the primary goals in their FOF lives.

My mother was not a grandmother like this to my children.  Not even close.

What about me?

It felt surreal when my 30-year-old daughter told me she was pregnant two months ago. Although I would give up my life to protect the young woman sitting next to me in the car, I never embraced my motherhood naturally. I would have been a pariah among today’s mommy bloggers (the expression makes me gag), who talk about their rapture when they interact and look at their children. One writes that she stops dead in her tracks to acknowledge her toddler every single time he enters the room so he can know how much he’s appreciated. I’m not sure if I’m envious of this woman’s ability to be so attentive to a two-year-old, or think she’s full of hot air and trying to impress all the other mommy bloggers currently flooding the Internet with their motherly love and sagacity.

I am sure I wasn’t capable of being this kind of mother, for a variety of reasons. And so how can I be this kind of grandmother?

Will I coo-coo non-stop around my grandson (sonogram technology is miraculous)? Will I patiently read him Goodnight Moon 5 times in a row? Will I stop everything when he toddles into the room?  Will I be thrilled when he calls me “grandma?”

My daughter is going to be one hell of a mother.  She’s far more self-confident than I was at her age and I think she’s going to pass that to her child (without having to stop dead in her tracks every time he enters the room.)

No matter how I feel and act as a grandmother, I will be there for my daughter whenever and wherever she needs me. I may not become a golden grandma, but I have a lot of experience trying to be a good mother. And I’m never going to stop trying.

 

10 Responses to “I’m getting a new title. Am I up to the job?”

  1. Susan Bonifant says:

    Congratulations! I very much like your approach to grandmothering – one that will reflect your intuition, experience and knowledge of the child and not your loyalty to a stereotype. Twenty-eight years ago, the the idea of parenting horrified me, until I met my husband and then – it just didn’t. Before my daughter was engaged last May, I wouldn’t have been able to picture her having a child, or me as a grandparent. Now I can not only picture it, I believe as a grandmummy, I’ll be kickass.

    REPLY
  2. Gloria Hanrahan says:

    Well, first, congratulations! It was interesting to read your feelings about being a mom yourself and not caring for the mommy blogger thing.

    At 56, my youngest is only 12 while my oldest is almost 29. Some of my friends have become grandparents, but I have no desire to be one at this point of my life. I feel like I have been a perpetual mother and will never get that time to myself between motherhood and grand-motherhood.

    My mother just turned 95 today, but suffers from severe dementia, so my younger children have never known the grandparent relationship. I don’t believe a grandmother has to play a prescribed role, but I am sure the grandchild will be a joy to you–and you a joy to him.

    Gloria

    REPLY
  3. Jacqueline says:

    I am in the UK & read several US blogs just to check out how women are doing ‘across the pond’. Tonight I found you Geri – born the same year as me with similar apprehensions I had about becoming a ‘Granny’.

    My darling daughter gave birth 3 years ago this week to twins – a girl & a boy. She was 35 and I was sort of over the moon but not sure how this was all going to impact on me.

    I’m in love again! They are so fascinating – everything is so new and interesting to them. You see things through their eyes. I am loved unconditionally & am on speed dial for a chat about what they did today.

    I said no to regular commitments as far as ‘baby sitting’ was concerned but they come & stay whilst their parents have a break & love our small country town & the beach nearby

    My parents were not interested in my children & when my son, aged 21, died 15 years ago, my father said after the funeral, (attended by 250 people) “I didn’t really know Matt”. I bit back a retort of “Well you didn’t try to!”

    Grannys can have such an important place in a child’s life and heart. My granny was wonderful to me – we lived with her after I was born in a bombed out London & my earliest memories are of her – not my mother sadly. Granny died 2 years (aged 96) before my son & at that time it was her I really wanted, with her cuddles & importantly, acceptance of terrible events and being able to put them into perspective – a skill which comes of age.

    Enjoy & have fun!!

    REPLY
  4. Cheryl Wilson says:

    Oh, Geri, can I relate! My first reaction was “I’ve done my time, now it’s your turn!” It wasn’t until I agreed to babysit (something I had said I wouldn’t do) for the first time and finally got some one-on-one time that I changed how I felt. The change in feeling occurred because throughout the pregnancy and subsequent birth, I was on the periphery of it all. Holding the baby with everyone around was no different to me than holding a friend’s baby. (I was the father’s mother and we are more excluded than everyone else.) Then, I was finally alone with my grandson and the thoughts running through my mind were so many that I hardly had time to think about them. Here, in my hands, was my immortality. Here was the child who would one day seek his genealogy and say “That is my Grandmother!” Here was the reincarnation of the son I love so much and my chance to do so many of the things I hadn’t the time for as a busy mother. I literally cried with joy! No, he wasn’t the second coming but he was a second chance. Shhhh…don’t tell the parents but my wanting and hoping to babysit often is a purely selfish act on my part. Helping them out is just a part of the agenda. I’m in love again and that little guy is the reason!

    REPLY
    • Geri says:

      OMG, Cheryl, you (almost) brought tears to my eyes. Seriously, your comment is all at once real, tender, inspirational and joyous. Thank you for sharing your marvelous thoughts we me.

      Geri

      REPLY
  5. Brenda Cline says:

    Geri,
    Being a grandmother, is the best thing that ever happened to me! I think that I am a better grandmother than I was a parent.

    I now have a little more time, money and no worries. This gives us “grandma’s” an appreciation of the little tot in front of us and the satisfaction yo can spoil them rotten and send them home. 🙂

    My grandson, Phillip is 2 years old now. At first he called my husband and I “Ma and Pa”
    then he started calling me Brenda….because he heard everyone calling me by my name. Yes, evertimne he called me by my first name I would correct him and say-grandma.

    Yesterday, he finally understood and called me by the glorious and time deserved GRANDMA.

    Being a grandma does not age you. Instead you will find that your lil one will keep you young. You will do things out of your element, past your bedtime, and will bring our your inner child.

    I hope that you will take this fabulous time in your life, to be the best grandma that you can, and when that day comes when he gets mad at his parents and tells them that he is going to grandma’s that you will always have the satisfaction you are loved!

    take care,
    Brenda

    REPLY
    • Geri says:

      Hi Brenda,

      I think I want you to be MY grandma. 🙂

      Fondly,
      Geri

      REPLY
  6. Kate Line Snider says:

    P.S. Nobody calls me “Grandma”. For some reason, I’m “Mamamo”.

    REPLY
    • Geri says:

      Hi Kate,

      Mamamo is WONDERFUL (looking and sounding). I also adored reading your warm, insightful comment.

      Fondly,
      Geri

      REPLY
  7. Kate Line Snider says:

    Geri, you will be astounded at the things you will do once the little bundle of joy is born! And even if you do not become the cookie-baking grandmother of folklore, you will be very,very special to your grandchild! And you will find depths of love within you that you never imagined.

    I’ve been a grandmother for 18 years ( I have 5 now, three boys and two girls) and the little stinkers adore me. It’s wonderful- unlike their parents, I can do no wrong. We tour historical sites together and walk miles at the mall. We all love history and music, and they TALK to me.

    You will learn so much! Your grandchild will admire and respect your knowledge and experience, and you can introduce him/her to new worlds. You will love it!

    REPLY

Leave a Reply