No one prepared me for being a grandmother. But then again, no one prepared me to be a mother either. It’s strange, isn’t it? Of all the jobs we have to do in this life, the one job having the most influence on society and carrying the greatest responsibility is being a parent—and yet the only preparation we have for it is through watching our own parents.
When I was very young and saw some children who were not the most loveable, I would wonder how in the world any mother could love such a child. When I had my first child, I learned how a mother could love her child no matter what. I couldn’t imagine not loving my children for who they were and was confused by those mothers who could turn their backs on their own little ones.
When I became pregnant with my second child, I wondered how in the world I could love another child as much as I loved my first daughter. When my second daughter was born, I found out how a mother can love as many children as she has.
Then I saw the wonderful, loving relationship my mother had with my girls and wondered how she could possibly love them so much when they were only her grandchildren. ONLY grandchildren! I didn’t know anything!
When my first daughter was having her baby, I was with her. She had a long, difficult labor and after many hours, the baby became stuck in the birth canal. The doctor decided it was necessary to do a Cesarean Section.
At that time, no one, other than the hospital staff, was allowed in the operating room so I had to wait in the waiting room, unable to be with her. I prayed very hard that all would be well with both my daughter and her baby. About an hour later, the nurse came and said, “You have a granddaughter!” I was both thrilled and relieved to learn both of them were fine.
Like a little old mother hen, I followed the doctor and my daughter into her hospital room and saw she was settled for the night. The doctor told me I could go to the nursery to see the baby. Because the baby had been born through surgery, she had to go into the incubator for twelve hours. I donned the gown and cap and went into the nursery. There she was, in all her glory, in the incubator. She was absolutely beautiful. She had ten tiny toes and ten little fingers with the most perfectly manicured fingernails. Her little head had become cone-shaped from being stuck in the birth canal so long.
I fell totally, completely, hopelessly and irrevocably in love with her the instant I saw her. She was the new baby to our family, a new life, more precious than my next breath. I didn’t know I could love that quickly with such intensity. She was my baby as sure as her mother was my baby. I put my hands through the holes in the side of the incubator into the attached rubber gloves and gently touched her and caressed her. I ached to pick her up and hold her against my heart that was now so full of love for her.
Circle of Life
I am sure I could have fifty grandchildren and each birth would be as remarkable as the one before it.
It’s the circle of life—the circle goes on and on through generation after generation. I was at the birth of my second grandchild, a baby girl also. This time I could immediately hold her and, again, fell totally in love with her. It was still an awesome experience. She was such a treasure and so perfectly made.
When my first grandson was born, I was there at his birth and watched his dad cut the umbilical cord. What a wondrous experience!
I did not have any sons or brothers, so a little boy baby was wonderful. I had wondered if you love a little boy baby any differently than a girl baby. But you don’t. A baby is a baby, and they all need love beyond measure. They soak up love like little sponges. Once again, I was hooked. I’d fallen completely in love with him, too.
Now I have a second grandson and a third granddaughter. Their arrivals were just as awesome as the first grandbaby. I can truly understand how my grandmother loved each and every one of her eighteen grandchildren and made a fuss over each one of them.
I don’t think the awesomeness ever diminishes, no matter how many babies are born. I am sure I could have fifty grandchildren and each birth would be as remarkable as the one before it. It is the truest miracle.
I wonder if this is how God feels when a person is baptized and He has a new child added to His family.
I have been blessed to be able to watch my grandbabies grow into toddlers, children, teenagers—and one is now an adult. I can see so much of their parents in each one. Every child is an individual, and my relationship is different with each one. My love is as fierce and protective as though they were my own children.
I thought that when my children grew up, it would be the end of my job other than providing them with advice (wanted or unwanted), and that they would carry on with their own lives. But, when the grandchildren came along, all the worrying and concern started again. So, this means my role has changed. I’m not their mom—I’m Grandma, and I can love them, play with them, teach them and totally enjoy them. It’s a role I am overjoyed to be able to experience.
I have learned many lessons as a mother and grandmother, but the most important lesson is that a baby becomes part of the entire family. It is unfortunate when a parent disregards that fact and turns away from family—there is truly a love missed. A baby is born to the whole family to love, care for and to be there as part of the child’s life and growth. I am so thankful for that part of my life.
While my mother was alive, I watched her with her great-grandchildren, and I wait with patience for what’s in store for me—another phase to look forward to and marvel at!
To learn more about the family dynamic, request your copy of our free booklet Marriage & Family: The Missing Dimension.