A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Monday, July 20, 2009

My life as a grandmother

Yesterday my daughter, Jenni, and I were talking about parents, kids, grandparents, etc. She said that some people see grandkids primarily as their "legacy" - carrying on the blood line. I hadn't thought about that much before but I realized in talking with her that, first of all, my "legacy" has nothing to do with blood line. It's more the memories I leave for my kids and my family. The laughter, the tears, the love, the photos, maybe even my bentwood rocker. That is MY legacy.

As for being a grandmother - there are two very special parts for me and neither of them have anything to do with genetics or dna.

The first is the joy and fun of watching your own child be a parent. Watching them go through all the stages from fear and confusion to laughter, joy, and that tug at the heart that only a parent knows. It's hearing my daughter complain about her daughter's messy bedroom and smiling at my own memory. It's having my son, who is in the midst of teen angst with his stepson, ask me if he was ever bored as a teenager! Or asking me if he cried a lot when he was a baby (oh, no, he was perfect.....) It's telling their kids stories about their parents when they were little and hearing the loud laughter that always invokes. It's being there when one of your kids calls for advice, to vent, or for comfort during one of those many frightening moments parents have.

It's watching their parenting style (which is always different for each generation) - hearing some things and thinking "dang, I wish I had thought of that when you were little". And hearing other things that make you silently think, "boy, I don't know about that one." And trying desperately to keep your opinions to yourself. Much like my own mother did when I was raising my kids. Miraculously, with a loving family, most kids turn out just fine regardless of parenting method. It's being a parent to a parent.

The second part if being able to re-live some of those early parenting years when I was fearful, confused, overwhelmed. In raising our own children, we're often torn so many different ways that those days slip by too quickly and we aren't always able to fully appreciate the wonder of it all. With my grandkids, I have the opportunity to have a "do-over". In fact, I put a quote on this blog that states "A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance."

Once again I can feel those sweaty little hands in mine as we cross the street. Watch ice cream run down their arms - only this time without freaking out about the mess. Go see a Disney movie and spend more time watching the kids faces than the movie itself. Listen to a Eamon's recap of a movie or tv show and watch his eyes light up. Help with homework. Watch Vika drag the stool across the kitchen so she can help me cook or bake. Have them actually WANT to help set the table or clean up. Kiss them goodnight and cover them when they sleep over.

Set up a separate table for our four grandkids in the 6-8 age range and watch them talk and laugh and play games. Watch the older boys slip into those teen years with goofy hair, strange clothes, and trying to cautiously straddle that line between child and adult.

Watch Tyson learn to crawl and sit up and walk and talk. Feed Tyson baby food (I always loved feeding my kids). Going to school shows. Picking up Vika and Eamon at school on Fridays and hearing them rattle on about their day and their friends. Having them run up to me with open arms for a hug or an "up please". Having Tyson fall asleep in my arms. Sticky hands on my face and hearing a little voice saying, "I love you."

So many wonderful things. I've been amazed at the depth of my feelings for my grandchildren. I always knew it would be nice to have them. I didn't know I would end up loving them almost as much as my own kids. That the familiar "tug at the heart" would now apply to them, as well. Every other grandmother I talk to expresses the same surprise at the incredible emotional ties they have to their grandkids. Ed and I have 11 grandkids between us with two more due to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

Grandkids are our gifts for raising our own children.


namaste said...

sandi, this was a beautiful post. i envy you your beautiful and large family. doesn't it amaze you that a little girl like yourself can cite 11 grandchildren between you and your sweet hubby? i'm sure it does. congratulations, dear heart.


carmella anderson said...

Sandi, you hit it right on. Vincent
runs looking for me and yells (Nana, where are you)? I usually yell back I'm hiding) not for long though..He hugs me around my knee's
and I just melt. We are leaving for a road trip and I purchased two webcams hoping it works out so I can see them all. Frank asked if I can be gone for the whole month. It will be difficult.

David said...

If you're interested in discovering your parenting style based on the latest research, please check out the Parenting Style Application by Signal Patterns on Parenting.com.

The underlying model developed by our team of psychologists reveals an underlying complexity far richer than just 'strict' or 'relaxed' classifications.

And what's particularly interesting is that you can take the test for a spouse and see where potential conflicts might lie and get advice on how to deal w/them. You can also compare results to your friends'.

It's Me said...

Awwwww...you sure are in a great place in your life, huh? What a refreshing post! My heart feels sooo happy for you, Sandi!

It's Me said...

Awwwww...you sure are in a great place in your life, huh? What a refreshing post! My heart feels sooo happy for you, Sandi!

Desert Diva said...

What a beautiful post about family. You must be the best grandmother EVER!

Luz said...

Ditto on what DesertDiva said. Nice blog post, thanks for sharing.

BluePixo said...

Every parent should convey to the child that he is an individual in his own right apart from us and responsible for his successes and failures.

BluePixo Entertainment - A place for mom and dad to share topics about parenthood