I am a grandma five times now plus one great grandson. Not too bad. I love it. But I will always be a mom.
In the back corner of my mind I thought that once the kids grew into adulthood and had their own families going, when their careers and schooling and such were all in tact, well, I thought somewhere in the crevices of my brain that I would be done being a mom.
Silly, I know. Because I think I am more a mom now than ever. What I mean by a “mom” is that my heart is bigger and more soft and vulnerable than when I spent many hours feeding, cleaning, burping, guiding, etc.
Now I have more time to look at what my children have become and are still growing into who they are. I give myself and my husband a great big pat on the back for who these kids are. And who their kids are becoming.
But as I watch, I cry. I cry tears of joy and silly sadness. One of my boys and his lovely wife is moving to the UK in just a few weeks! The UK!!! I live in the USA!!!
The good things are……. they will be there for a year (could be longer, who knows?). The better thing is that this is a dream come true for our son and his wife…..an opportunity to study at the University of Edinburg!
The BEST thing is that my husband and I will take our dream trip this Christmas and spend two glorious weeks in Scotland and a bit of Ireland! I’m beside myself with excitement! The child rearing years have paid off.
Then why the sadness you ask? Just knowing they are not and hour and a half away makes me cry a little. I actually feel a little lost. I go through that with our oldest and his family being twenty hours away by car.
I’ll make it. I couldn’t be more proud of all my kids.
But being a mom is hard.
Here is a “seed” a friend sent me… my first spending money:
I chose to be a stay-at-home mom many years ago. I have never regretted that decision. I loved it. Yes, there are sacrifices. Yes, there is less money to live on. And yes, creativity comes to play in more ways than you can imagine.
I feel that my children benefited from this decision. Would they have benefited as much if I chose a career also? YES – I believe so. Because mothering and fathering is in the heart first of all.
I use to wonder, when I was a very young mother, why women I knew wanted to go to work and leave the kids in another’s care. I quickly got over that. I realized, as I watched and listened to them, that some of us humans are bent a different way. It doesn’t mean they are less of a parent. I honor their decisions.
Some parents have no choice. I honor them also. And yes, some perhaps need to get their act together and their priorities straight. But they still love their children.
I find myself, in this time of life, caring for young children again. I’ve talked about this is previous posts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. After raising my kids – and I did have small jobs now and then as they got older – I went full time into the work force. It was an amazing experience. It was a position that I knew nothing about and yet was able to tap deep inside me and see that I could do it!
So, why is the job that women were created to do, physically and emotionally, still so scrutinized in this world today? Why do so many women feel that “just being a mom” isn’t enough?Why do mom’s, and probably dad’s who care for the kids, feel they are a bit useless? Perhaps not intelligent enough for career minded people? Simply, why is mothering so looked down upon?
Do you know how hard it is to convince a tiny human being that “they are kind, they smart, they are important”? Quote taken from The Help. It’s a constant battle. It takes just a few minutes to tell “Siri” what to say and what to do in comparison to telling a baby, then a child, then a pre-teen, then a teen, then a young adult…. and so on. We are constantly facing things we cannot control that knock us down. Lies are always coming against us. Sometimes from actual people and sometimes in our heads. Programming a computor is that – it is done. But loving a human through the stages of life – is just that. Life long.
Then the same question – why is parenthood so looked down upon? Why is it such a struggle to feel you are doing something amazing?
You are. You parents, whether you are working outside the home or staying home with your kids, are amazing. You are doing an incredible thing. It never stops. It is continual.
You are doing a great thing! Do not let others tell you or imply otherwise. Do not second guess yourself.
You are amazing! Tell a parent today that they are amazing.
Three years ago a lovely little baby joined our family. Our first grand daughter and fourth grand child. From the start you could see a confidence in this little one that was astounding. Her mom was attending a University at the time of her birth and her dad was making a career change to also go to school.
They needed me. I wasn’t working at the time so I decided I could care for this little one. I was challenged. She wasn’t sure she really liked me. She hated having her diaper changed. After a few months we began to get along better. I really think she associated me with the fact that when her parents left her with me, that meant they were leaving. Her intelligence frightened me a little. But those big blue eyes (eyes of which I never experienced from my own brown/hazel eyed kids) fascinated me and kept winning me over, no matter how mad she was at me. She made me laugh.
We just celebrated her third birthday and she also has a little sister now who is six months old. As I have watched her grow into an amazing little girl – it causes me to reflect on my childhood. On my personality. I see similarities between her and I. I see a stubbornness that is familiar to me. I see an attitude that convicts my heart to soften my attitude towards others without giving up the strong person I have become.
For her birthday, I posted a picture on Facebook, along with a little conversation we had recently:
Me: Hey Lucy, let’s get dressed and I’ll take you out to ride your bike. Lu: No. Me: Come on, don’t you want to ride your bike? Get your helmet. Lu: No ride bike. Can I ride a horse (with big smile)? Me: Horse? Well, how about a bike ride? Lu: No bike – I want to ride a horse. Me: sigh
We share the same love of horses – but as a child I only experienced riding my bike – often (once I learned to ride it) – she has ridden a horse at least twice now in her young life. And she fell in love.
A good friend said of this little one: “It’s easy to imagine you as a child Cate!” I liked that my friend said that. But the truth is, I wasn’t that way as a child. I had different parents and different home life. I didn’t have some of the advantages that this little one has. Simply because it was a very different upbringing.
I had the imagination and an imaginary horse. I loved that horse. But I greatly lacked in the confidence this little shows at such a young age. As many arguments that we have (and yes, you can argue with a two year old) and the many time – outs she receives, I cannot help but love her so much that it makes me cry – good tears. I take it very seriously the task I have been handed to help care for and raise this little one.
I had no idea that when I accepted the challenge of caring for this lovely that I would be smitten. That, like the Grinch whose heart was two sizes too small, mine grew that day. It grew more and more at each argument – “Calm down, Mammy, just calm down” – and other similar occasions.
This little one taught me about love and encouragement and hope. Not only for her, but for myself and others. I can see that she travels to the beat of a different drum, so to speak. And that will be a challenge for her as she matures and goes off to school and other places where some may not understand her beat. I know this because I go through this. I did as a little child, and I was gently pushed into the corral and told to just obey and do as you’re told. I made it through childhood :D.
Parents, we have to know our children. It’s a day to day process as they grow into a child. We have to take the time to know their personality. You can have four children ad each one will be diversely different. We cannot grow them the same way. It’s work.
And grand parents, we can bring hope and love and encouragement to them like no other can. They aren’t ours to raise completely. but our wisdom and cookies can go a long way.
I thank God for my five grand children. Some I am closer to than others, but the love I have for them each is huge. I pray often for ways I can show them. Ways that I can help them.
I cannot walk in their shoes, but I can encourage them to find their own beat and walk in it!
My husband and I became grandparents while our 2 (out of 4) youngest were still in High School. Our oldest son married a wonderful gal who already had 2 sons of her own. He has since adopted them and they have a third son now.
At the time I did not feel like a grandma. Most of that was due to the fact that I was still a “mommy” with 2 in school. Also, having been a child of the 50’s – that’s 1950s to those of the present century – our grandparents were mostly gray-haired, bun wearing, large dresses and Mr Roger type sweater wearers. Whole different image back then.
(here is a picture with our oldest grandson at his High School graduation)
We now have a 4th grand child, she is just turning a year old. We moved half way across the country 3 years ago and had to leave the 3 boys behind – their parents wouldn’t let them come with us….. whatever. I miss them greatly. But since arriving here the last 2 have married and our youngest and his lovely wife have given us a grand-daughter. I have the privilege of caring for her at least 4 days a week. I hesitate here. I love spending time with her. I laugh, I cry and it’s all good – but it does make me miss my boys back east. But this “Ode to Grandparents” isn’t about me and all the joy I experience with mine. This is for the fellow comrades who find themselves in situations that caused them to be “parents” again. For whatever the reasons they have to raise their grandchildren – I lift my hat to them. Heck, I bow down at their feet and if I could I’d give them all their dream vacations. And I am serious.
I turned 60 in the fall. I’m stiff when I don’t want to be and there are many days I want to stay in bed and read a book or two – if it didn’t hurt to lay down for long periods of time. I’m not working now just because I don’t want to even though another income would be welcomed. But that does allow me to take care of the little girl. In her short illustrious life she has actually spent the night with Mammy and Papa 3 times. The first time I ended up on the couch with a restless baby on top of me and absolutely NO sleep. The second time we shared the guest room double bed so Papa and the dogs wouldn’t be disturbed or disturb us. It was going well until about 1 am when I gave her a bottle of goat milk while lying next to me in bed. She sucked so hard on the bottle that the nipple collapsed into the bottle and deposited goat milk all over the mattress and herself. Of course I had NO extra clothes for her so I ended up wrapping her in a blanket and cuddling her, which apparently that is all she wanted anyway because she promptly fell asleep till morning.
The third time was just this past weekend. Much progress has taken place. Except ……. she caught a cold – on MY watch! I almost panicked but we got through it after I drugged her lightly (don’t worry it was infants Tylenol).
Times have changed. Children today experience way too much heartache in this world. I thank you parents for sacrificing so much to give your loved ones the help and assistance they need. They are our future. We need to preserve and take back what was lost between generations. We need each other. All ages working together and supporting each other is a huge part of life.