Saturday, February 14, 2009

Things My Mother Never Told Me...

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?"

"What?"

"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!

28 comments:

Beth said...

Oh, you are going to be an awesome grandmother!

That was a great post. Great!

Linda S. Socha said...

It just gets stronger Deb. I know people say this but I think it may be truer. It is a more light hearted kind of love where it is easier to see the wonderful possibilities.

I have heard some of those things you heard from your mom....I see how people can see life that way. I can even understand id and I also know that you grandchild will achieve more than you and I may have dreamed possible ...and that is the way it should be.

I love your spirit and I know this is such a time of transition....and joy
Linda

Willow said...

We lived in different times, didn't we?

I'd have to say that we grandmothers should wear shirts that say, "I'm a grandma! Don't mess with my babies!" Just as a warning label.

Akelamalu said...

Being a grammie is even better than being a mother! :)

Marg said...

Oh...I wished you were closer and we could just sit down and talk about this stuff...and so we write from our hearts.... and the beat goes on as from our mothers. I just keep asking God what he wants me to do in keeping relationships with those so close in my life like my kids and grandkids. I have no mom around to tell me, but I know that she would of pointed me in the same direction...
I loved your story. My mom never used the word S...When I was older I asked her why she never talked about it...She said, that I could see it daily on the farm..." I had no clue.
Oh well, Keep being the best.

Beverly said...

Being a grandmom is my very favorite role in life. I adore my sweet boy, and I would do anything for him. His sweet words and hugs make my days.

I am so thrilled you are experiencing this unrivaled joy in life.

Sandi McBride said...

Your poor mother...hug her hard next time you see her. Call her and just chat, no questions, just chat...my heart is breaking for the sadness that has been her life...
Sandi

Tillybud said...

Thank you for this thought-provoking post - you tell the story so beautifully. My grandmother was born in such a different time and place. She didn't like to hug and kiss like some families did. But her love for me was fierce and everlasting....I still feel it.

Louise said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post.

Ii can't imagine being so thoroughly confused due to your mother at each of those important stages of your life, but I am so glad you have found who you are on your own and are loving every minute of it!

Deb said...

Hi Beth ~ Thanks! :)

Hi Linda ~ You are correct...and thank you.

Hi Willow ~ I will need one of those t-shirts!

Hi Ake ~ And I love being a mom!

Hi Marg ~ If we ever meet up I imagine we will talk for days! :)

Hi Beverly ~ Thank you! And I will be doing lots of hugging.

Hi Sandy ~ I chat with my mom on a very regular basis. We have a very good relationship. And you are correct, parts of her life have been very sad - another post for another day, maybe.

Hi Tillybud ~ I miss my grandmothers so much.

Hi Louise ~ It has taken me a long time to figure out who I am - and I am loving it! :)

SandyCarlson said...

Congratulations on being a grandma!

"How to wear a feminine product" about sums up my intro to the facts of life. I learned more on the bus and in homeroom than I ever did from home itself on this topic!

pink dogwood said...

What a beautiful post. I hope your parents get to meet your grand kids somehow.

MarmiteToasty said...

I never got the chance to experience nannies or grandads, only vague memories of one little nanny all had died by the time I was 7... my 4 lads only vaguely got a tiny grandparent experience..... so grandparent memories will have to start with me......

except.... I keep telling me lads to 'keep their bits in their boxers' a while longer LOL

You, will make the most wonderful grandma.....

x

Jeni said...

Hmmm. I know I read this before on my reader and I thought I had commented on it then too but apparently I was planning to come back and do that but forgot. (I forget a lot these days! LOL)
But everything that's been said here is all so true! Being a grandparent, I think, is the best thing ever to come down the pike! I definitely believe it brings out the very best in us. My son tells his niece and nephews that I am an alien, not the same person he grew up with. I think sometimes too that he is right as I am very different with my grandkids much of the time than I was with their parents -probably because I have less stress and realize things now I didn't even think about back then! Like how quickly children grow, learn, and before you know it, they are as tall as you are, doing all kinds of fascinating things! Just enjoy every bit of time you get to spend with the grandkids. It does pay off fantastic rewards.

Jeni said...

Oh and did I mention -congrats on getting Post of the Day at David's place too!

ArneA said...

The times they are a´changing, and will in coming generation too.
If we were told everything, what then with development to human kind.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Well congratulations on being a grandmother ( you are clearly going to delight in the role) and such a lovely blog. J xx

Merci said...

What a wonderful blog! Thanks for Sharing.

Carolina said...

Came over through David's Post of the Day. Enjoyed reading your post. Your mother and mine are very similar ;-)

tardevil said...

Congrats on winning Post of the Day on David's blog! I'm sure you're doing fine in your new role!

Cath said...

Oh Debs your mother sounds just like mine, much as I love her but just as hard to communicate with sometimes!

This is a wonderful post and I am so glad you are enjoying Grandmotherhood WITHOUT confusion!

Over from Authorblog - congrats on POTD

Gaston Studio said...

Are we twins? Your accounting of "growing into..." sounds so like mine, I wonder. As one of your admirers said, we live in different times. I saw this when my oldest daughter had her first child, a girl, and how fantastic a mom she was/is. Not because she was emulating me, but because I taught her to be independent, strong and a seeker. She learned the right way to be a mom and I am so proud of her. You will be a great nana!

Skeeter said...

Hi!

What a great post. My son is almost 20 and I hope I won't become a granddaddy for a long time to come.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Congratulation on becoming a grandmother twice!!
Your mother could only be for you what she was 'able', it doesnt mean she was bad or worse. She just was, judging her only makes for bitterness and clogs up your life more than hers...

She must have done her best...she could have been worse. Our yard sticks, are different lengths and widths to the sticks of yester year...

I think it make for better life if you just use your Love and nurturing feeling for your grandchildren and children... your experience has helped you become who you are..love them babies

Deb said...

Hi Sandy ~ I can relate to that!

Hi Pink ~ I so hope they get to meet!

Hi Marmite ~ Great advice to your sons!

Hi Jeni~ I am so looking forward to being a grammie! Thanks for your kind words.

Hi ArneA ~ Well, she certainly didn't tell me everything!

Hi Reasons ~ Thank you for stopping in - much appreciated!

Hi Merci ~ Thank you for dropping in! :)

Hi Carolina ~ Thanks for dropping in. Nice to know I wasn't alone!

Hi Tardevil ~ Glad that you stopped in. :)

Hi Cathy ~ I appreciate your thoughtful words. :)

Hi Gaston Studio ~ I am also proud of the strong, independent daughters I have raised. Glad you stopping in! :)

Hi Skeeter ~ Thanks for stopping in - and hope you enjoy being a grandparent when that day finally arrives!

Hi FFF ~ Thanks for the thoughtful words. I actually have a good relationship with my mom - and I realize that she did the best she could. And I have always tried to be the best mom I could be - that's all any of us can do - try. :)

imbeingheldhostage said...

What a fantastic post. My legs are still crossed from the tumbling story though...

Rapunzel said...

Beautiful post, Deb, and especially timely for me as I continue to reflect on my mother, the things she told me and the things she didn't have a chance to. xoxox

Granny on the Web said...

Can I squeeze one more comment in?
I just happened on your post, and felt this was a worth winner. Mainly because it echo's my relationship with my mother and the subject of S. When I had my first child she said " I bet you won't do that again in a hurry" I still feel sad for her.
I love being a Grandma, as I loved being a Mum, and despite Mother's prediction I went on to have five of my own and now have 10 grandchildren.
Love Granny

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