Friends of ours have just become grandparents. Their first. And I think they will uphold the title well. Looking at the first photos on Facebook (of course) immediately transported me back 19 months ago on this date. That’s when we officially became Nana and Papa to Peanut.
I remember not really knowing what to feel on the drive down to Alabama a few days before her arrival. This was my first born, now about to become a mommy. And there just wasn’t time to tell her everything she needed to know to hold that title. Where had the time gone? Wasn’t it just yesterday when she was in diapers? Climbing trees. Getting ready for prom?
I was allowed to stay in the delivery room with her and dad-to-be. I hadn’t been in a delivery room for 21 years, and never from this vantage point. When the contractions came hard and fast it was all I could do to not rush to her side. The mother bear instinct is a strong one. But my feet stayed planted and I kept telling myself that, while this is MY child, she had crossed the line and was a young woman now. And judging by the strength and duration of the contractions, eminently, a mommy. I felt the tears well up. Not only because I wanted desperately to be at her side, but for the sheer miracle of the moment. I witnessed it all. Every conceivable emotion crossed the faces of these new parents during those last few minutes. I suddenly felt like an intruder into one of the most intimate moments in a couple’s life. But, I’m sure they didn’t give my presence a second thought. They were a bit distracted.
There she was. All 6 pounds 12 ounces of her.
At that moment I added another title to my name. Daughter. Friend. Wife. Aunt. Mom. Designer. Teacher…and now, Nana (aka Grandma). When it was my turn, I held this swaddled little peanut of a baby, and the only thing I could think of was the cliché phrase, “the circle of life.” Kinda corny, I know. But I was holding the child of my child. When that happened, something clicked in my brain and I felt a strong bond with all the women who came before me in our family. It was like I was let in on a secret, revealed only through this moment.
There’s something liberating and comforting about being a grandparent. Maybe it’s because now your child finally realizes you’re pretty darn smart after all. Maybe it’s sitting beside your daughter while she looks at her newborn and dissolves into tears of awe at what just happened. Maybe it’s the chuckle we have while watching our children struggle with the independence of their children.
Maybe it’s because, when we look at our grandchildren, we see ourselves as new parents again. And life seems fresh and full of possibilities…for everyone.