For the past sixteen days I have been redefining who I am - once again. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, a mom, an aunt, a mom-in-law, and now I am a grandmother. Of course I have also been called a few other things over the years but we won't go there today. I thought I would just become a grammie with no thought required but that has not been the case. I have been reflecting a great deal about what it means to be a grandmother. I have been reminiscing about raising my four children and how fast the years flew by. At times I have even been sad as I face the realization that my baby raising days are behind me. I have spent hours thinking of my own grandmothers ~ how much I loved them and how much I miss them. It is amazing that two baby boys with a combined weight of less than eleven pounds have had this type of effect on me.
Part of this introspection has included thoughts of my mom. She is now a great-grandmother. My parents live in Florida and I don't get down there to visit as often as I would like. They are not able to travel any longer so unfortunately I don't know when or if they will get to meet their great-grandsons. I have sent pictures but that's not the same as being able to kiss those cute little toes and inhaling that wonderful baby smell. I miss my mom and wish she were here to share this next chapter in life with me. I want to see her holding her great-grandsons, rocking them and soaking up their sweetness. I want to talk to her, up close and personal, about being a grandmother.
So as I process new feelings and revisit stored memories and try to make sense of this new phase in my life, I linger on a few of 'my mom' memories. My mom is a sweet lady. She is not an adventurer, not a risk taker. She plays life safe. She was a stay at home mom and did whatever my father told her to do - right, wrong or otherwise. That is also another post for another day.
One memory was when I was thirteen years old. My sister and I were doing gymnastics on the beds. I was doing a tumble and landed hard on the wooden rail at the end of the bed. I landed real hard and let's just say I am glad I wasn't male because I would have been singing soprano. I ran into the bathroom and on further investigation I realized that I was bleeding. I started to cry. I knew I was in serious trouble. I wasn't supposed to be doing tumbles on the bed in the first place and now it appeared that I had internal bleeding. My thirteen year old dramatic imagination was on overdrive and I worked myself into a frenzy. I yelled out to my mother, "Come here fast, I am going to die !" My mother came into the bathroom and checked out the situation. She handed me a feminine product, told me how to wear it and then prepared to leave the room.
"Mom, what is this for? Am I dying? Why am I bleeding? Shouldn't we go to the hospital? What's wrong with me?"
"This is going to happen to you every month."
She left the room. I remember wondering what was going to happen every month. Was I going to do tumbles every month, fall on the rail and then bleed? Thoroughly confused, and not for the last time, I entered the world of womanhood.
I remember when I was curious about the birds and the bees. This was before the days of sex education. At all of the slumber parties the main topic of discussion was sex and I was once again confused. I went to my mother and asked her about some of the conversations. She turned and told me to ask my grandmother to explain it to me. What? To this day mom has never mentioned the 'S" word to me. Thoroughly confused, and not for the last time, I entered the world of sexuality.
I remember when I became engaged. I was so excited. My parents had been married forever so I asked my mom for words of advice as I prepared to get married to my true love, my soulmate. She turned and looked at me with sad eyes, and said, " You make your bed, you lie in it." Whoa. I didn't truly understand what she meant but I knew this wasn't happy, happy, joy, joy talk. Thoroughly confused, and not for the last time, I entered the world of marriage.
When I gave birth to my first child, I was beaming, excited, bursting with pride. I couldn't wait to show my new baby girl to the world. I was a mommy! My mother walked into my hospital room and I held out my arms so she could give me a hug. She looked at me and I waited for her words of love, her words of wisdom.
"Are you sure there isn't another baby in there?"
"Your stomach is still huge. Are you sure they got everything out?"
Thoroughly confused, and not for the last time, I entered the world of motherhood.
And now, I have entered the world of Grandmotherhood and I am finding that once again there are things my mother never told me. She never told me how much love I would hold in my heart for my grandchildren. She never told me how after sixteen short days I would protect my grandsons against any type of danger. She never told me about the bonds that form, a bond stronger than Gorilla glue. And for once, I am not thoroughly confused. I have entered the world of Grandmotherhood and I'm lovin' it!