Due to increased risk to mommy and baby, our pregnant daughter-in-law will be induced this week – three weeks early – bringing a new granddaughter into our world.
The thought of that perfect little parcel of cells opening her mouth wide and gulping her first breath exhilarates me.
I’ve always loved kids. Kids and animals. Put me in a room full of faces and bodies and I’ll find a corner from which to observe and the small bodies will gravitate to me.
Conversations with kids are so easy and natural – innocent and information hungry questions, simple requests, and bonding extraordinaire. Pure enjoyment of pets comes without the hassle of overtones and inflections and nuances.
Adding instant grandchildren has been so easy for me. Build a quick addition to my ‘heart and soul house’ and put their name on the wall. Instant family. Instant love. Equal rights. Easy-peasey.
This is a first though – a challenge to my stance. A seed. The added room to the ‘heart and soul house’ is more like a new tree. It’s been growing, a part of me already – not quite the same as something I’ve built. Suddenly I’m aware of those carefully saved treasures, little snippets of papers to show progress through the years; memories captured – boxed and saved books from my childhood, special items from my son’s childhood; simple little cards and writings I’ve protected dutifully through the years. Suddenly all of these things make perfect sense. Their space-taking has full value now – these are the physical representations, the accouterments of the new room, the outgrowth finally seen for its worth.
And now my logical mind wrests with the knowledge that what I’ve always said, what I’ve always thought, what I’ve always lived, is not quite true. I’ve fooled myself.
Blood is thicker than water. It is. There’s a surge of feelings that cannot simply be constructed with imported family.
But there is the choice, free choice, true choice to build family, to add them honestly and truly to your heart.
I recognize the difference now, as I contemplate that these hands, these arms, these eyes, will caress an outgrowth of my cells, my parts, my pieces. My mom’s parts and pieces – my dad’s parts and pieces. Suddenly the generational puzzle will fit another piece into place.
Those family that have been added as fully formed units formed from other generational parts are still my family – they have their own true familial space, because my heart constructs very authentic room additions on the ‘heart and soul house’. For better or for worse.
So to my daughter-in-law who brought me instant grandchildren: Dear love, you are my tribe – your kids are my tribe. I’m Grandma no matter the result of your vows – the heart rooms are already built, and I’m a master constructor, and an equal opportunity sort of gal. Please understand that I never got the same start with your babes that is now available with their cousin-to-be. Bear with me as I bond, as I relish in the glow of new feelings. Hang in there Hon – there’s no devaluation in store. We’re adding, not subtracting, love for one more. You are my daughter, and I love you and what you’ve added to our family.
And to my daughter-in-law who carries the unborn child of my son, my cells, the inheritor of my past: Dear love, bear with me as I run the gamut of emotions, as I try to give you space to bond. For my hands want to reach out and intertwine with this new little semblance of my son. My mind wants to erase the mistakes I made as a mom and embrace the opportunities of being a grandma that is there from day one, with the hindsight and knowledge to share. I’ll do my best not to smother you all with my needs. Know that as this little one resides in room number six of the ‘heart-and-soul’ home – it’s the first room of its type, it’s special and will always be, something I have no skill to construct. A room only God can produce. I love you, dear daughter, and love what you give to my son.
aka Grandma Trish