My lovingly awaited great-granddaughter was born three days ago. I have adored her as my “hoped for great-grandchild” even before she was conceived and my love for her has grown stronger each day. When I heard she was here, I was in a crescendo of love and emotion. I was in tears of joy on the way to the hospital. I couldn’t wait to hold her, bless her, sing and coo to her, feel her little body in my arms and kiss her little neck and eyelids. And see my son hold his first granddaughter.
Expectations and assumptions.
The Before Story….I was surprised that none of us were allowed to hold her. Her Mommy didn’t want to share her with any of us yet. I’ve never encountered that so it wasn’t even in my frame of reference. Surprise didn’t come as much from expectations as past experiences. Ellie – my daughter, and Sara – Mommy’s Sister and Sydneys Godmother – were beside themselves with joy as well. Just before we had to leave, Mommy’s Sister ask if she could hold her new Goddaughter and was given a definite “No” by Mommy. I saw Mommy’s Sister’s face and my heart ached for her and I forgot my own disappointment. My two granddaughters’ ‘Nother Mother” – Ellie, Sara and I met later and talked for a couple of hours, expressing our disappointment, pain and yes, frustration. We decided the moment had passed but there could be another.
After conversation over a glass of wine…I accepted Mommy’s decision. It wasn’t that Mommy didn’t want to share – it was simply that she wanted to bond with her own daughter – her first chance since she was born!! When I got my wits about me, I knew, of course, that it was as it should be. I chuckled at my immature self – at 71!
My great-granddaughter is three days old now and timing has still prevented me from holding her. I went back to the hospital the night of her birth but nurses were doing their duties and Sydney was fussy. I know her Mommy was exhausted, had four hours of sleep in 48 hours, plus birthing a child. She was apologetic and sensitive about the delay in getting to hold Sydney. I understand all of that. But I’m still so anxious to hold her! For the moment it was really enough seeing them all tonight for a short visit. I was filled with joy. Sydney Sue was a reality and that sated me.
OK, Oh Mature Adult One! Quick! What have I learned?
What am I feeling? First of all, I realize that I have some innate expectation of being honored as the great-grandmother. Logical or not, I assumed I’d get to hold her, snuggle her and share my joy. Timing. I feel honored to get to share the unspoken joy of the moment with all of our family – this moment of new life. I will hold her soon, of course. I love her and welcome her. I love and adore her Mommy too, my precious granddaughter. I honor her as a new mother.
Even though relieved, joyous, all of the emotions of having a new life in her life, my granddaughter is appearing a bit overwhelmed, she’s almost certainly struggling with many things – she seems pretty depressed and who would not be with so little sleep. But she has absolutely no confusion about her role as a new mother and her love for her baby. I remember those feelings – confusing mixtures of emotions. It’s an intense time – for her as a new mother.
She’s now in the sisterhood of child-bearer. I can’t wait for our closeness to manifest itself with that lingering eye contact between my granddaughter and I that says it all – that “we know” the meaning of this moment, even if we don’t have words to speak it. That we are connecting and acknowledging our love for each other, this new life and in that, all mothers, children and life.
I honor my granddaughter’s choices – whatever they are. She has every right to live her life and “mother” as she wishes. She has wonderful hopes, guidelines and plans to be the best mother she can be. And I’m absolutely sure she will be. I’m grateful that she is being true to herself and had the courage to care for her needs and feelings. She has “Mommy Rights”.
Flexibility, patience, 71-year-old grasshopper!
Update – My new great-granddaughter is now four days old. My granddaughter texted to invite me to visit them. They’re home, settled in, comfortable and so ready to share the joy. I’m there!
I was so grateful for all I’ve learned from this new life already. I was able to look beyond myself, feel my feelings and finally accept that although I totally understand my granddaughters decisions – got over myself and thought of my Beloved Granddaughter – when I got out of my emotion and became “conscious” – that I could also acknowledge my own feelings about it and understand them. One really has nothing to do with the other – honoring and validating others feelings doesn’t mean devaluing or dishonoring my own feelings.
And, by the way, I felt my granddaughter and I had a moment of eye contact, the “knowing”, the love that could never be expressed in words.
I’m so very grateful!
PS: Maybe this is why I missed O You? I so wanted to be there, But! If I’d had to choose – my time with my new great-granddaughter and her family?
Yes, I now get it. And I’m so happy!