A Lighter Look: Anticipating the joys of grandmotherhood

I was talking with my friend whose daughter was expecting her first child any day. With the new world of grandparenthood looming, she was anxious with excitement.

Her words betrayed varying emotions, which we all know can take hold any time while feeling the angst of the unknown. I appreciated her honesty as she wondered, "Will my daughter still need me?" Her fear that this new little person could somehow displace her role as original mother creeped into her heart. I was certain her words also contained worry for her daughter about to embark into labor and delivery of a child. I recognized the language.

I listened to my friend, touched by her vibrancy and beauty. I knew she would be among the best of grandmothers. I waited for her to spill the heaviness of her words, and then I took her hand. I thought of my three grandchildren and smiled. With encouragement, I offered a suggestion of shift.

“Have you thought,” I began, “of the relationship you will have with your grandchild?”

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She looked at me. Her mouth softened and began to turn up towards joy. She cocked her head in wonder. I went on to offer the glimpse into the expansive and delight-filled world of being a grandmother.

As I spoke, I thought about the world of sidewalk chalk where dinosaurs come alive on the driveway. What would curb appeal be without green, blue and pink dinosaurs roaming the blacktop, leaving evidence of imagination and curiosity? When was the last time she sat on her driveway? Blowing bubbles and then trying to catch them will become the most cherished pastime on a summer afternoon. Blowing bubbles in February is fun, too.

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There will be backwards days, when ice cream is for breakfast and pancakes are for dinner. There will be sleepovers when rules need not apply, or bedtime tuck-ins that leave a moon-glow of the heart. Silly secrets lead to giggles, and splashing water will drench her fresh-pressed blouse. Yogurt mixed oatmeal will end up in her hair, and her clothes will wear every meal shared with her grandchild, every time. Chances are, she won’t care.

With all the new discoveries, her seasoned heart will reopen. Her grandmother kiss will heal the skinned knee, especially with the Batman band-aids in constant supply. Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” will be read with new appreciation, and perhaps some experimentation to see if green eggs are really as good as Sam says they are. And the tender grasp of a little pudgy fingers will tap into the vast and endless love she will have for this child. My flight of dreams was just getting started.

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I left our conversation feeling the anticipation of pure and unfiltered bliss for my friend. She had no clue that this new gust of love will take her to places as vast and as wide as the sky full of stars. She will see her daughter with new eyes, and my guess is her daughter will see her with new appreciation and gratitude. Bottom line, grandmotherhood is a whole new world.

I told my friend I couldn’t wait until our next encounter. By then, she would need no further convincing. This child will need only a moment to transform the heart. I’ll recognize her new world, because that’s where I live as well. Oh, the places we will go…

Anne Marie Romer is one of our regular community contributors.

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