When my older daughter became a mother nearly six years ago, I became a grandmother with a brand-new baby to love. But I also became a different kind of mother to my baby. I was useful again. I knew things. I understood. And the most important thing I understood was how much my daughter loved her child.
Ten months later, my younger daughter gave birth to her firstborn. "Did you feel this way, Mom? Isn't it amazing? I never knew. Was I as cute?"
Motherhood, part two. That's what grandparenting really is. Your kids grow up, go off to school, move away. And they don’t need you anymore. They don’t call for advice. And you think, you’re done. That's it. The job is finished.
And then your kids become parents and you're suddenly back in the game. "Mom, can you?" "Dad, will you?"
When a child is placed in a woman's arms — in a hospital, at an airport, in a lawyer’s office, and whether the child is a newborn or a 10-year-old — a woman's life changes forever.
And so does the life of her mother.
I watch my daughters wipe noses and hands, buckle car seats, peel grapes, insist upon "please" and "thank you," wipe up spills, dry tears, read books, blow bubbles, monitor the TV, play games, and work outside their homes. And I am struck by the rigors of mothering — how hard it is and tiring and endless, and how amazing it is that anyone signs up for this job.
And then I think, this was once my job. I did all this. "How did you do it, Mom?" my daughters ask. And they listen to my answer because I've been down the road they're on now and they realize that maybe I know a few things they have yet to learn.
The mother-child connection. It changes. It evolves. It grows.
In the space between us now there is still no space. It is filled with children — theirs, but part mine. And on it goes. Mother to mother to child, this eternal bond that is recognized and honored on Mother's Day.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.