I never needed to be a grandmother; it just wasn’t on my radar. I love my kids to the moon and back, and I want them to be happy and have love in their lives -- yet how that works out for them - well, I’m curious to watch their stories unfold.
I will mention that I was pretty excited when various kids adopted a cat and a dog and a dog. And also my son’s fiancé came with a large calm cat who utterly tickles my sensibilities.
As Lin-Manuel Miranda said, “Love is love is love.”
But then, at the tender age of past just 30 (like me when I had her and like my mom when she had me) my daughter gave birth to our family’s baby. All of us are enormously in love with little Gracie. Seriously, all of us will and have driven hours just to spend an afternoon with her. She’s our fav babe.
So what do I think of being a grandparent now that I am one?
There are the regular sweet things to feel and say. I adore her, as does Len.
But behind our obvious infatuation for our particular baby granddaughter – there is also this.
I feel like I am standing on a bridge.
I hold her. She looks up at me; studying my glinty glasses (her parents don’t wear them). I laugh because she’s so serious. Then she smiles back - her newest trick is smiling – because she’s good with this moment, too.
And suddenly I feel a little dizzy; as if I am standing on the apex of a bridge. When I see Gracie’s face, I also see my grandmothers’ faces. Esther with her softness, her blue eyes, her fluffy white hair, her glinty glasses.I see Esther standing on her porch, calling to me to not forget to take the cookies she made for just me – molasses because I loved them so much. Yeah, I had a grandmother who gave me credit for liking molasses.
I see Laura with her narrower face, her smart remarks, pink cheeks and light-filled eyes. I see her the way she was before strokes stole herself from herself; I see her leaning her head back just a little, ready to laugh at me and my cousins and my brother and sister.
My grandparents were all (I think) born in the 1890’s. I have so many memories of them, a well as of my own parents. All these people who were my world, who raised me, who would have paid a king’s ransom to hold little Gracie.
And that’s just my part of this grandchild story. She has her other grandma, and her grandpas, as well as a step-grandfather (I have such good memories of my step-grandpa; I feel a little sorry for kids who don’t have step-people to help love them)
Being a Grandparent feels like being a bridge between the people and stories we came from, and all the people and stories Gracie will grow up among and towards.
Remember macramé? Remember how you would bring two threads down, tie them nicely, then take those hanging threads and tie them on to others? All in a pattern, all, eventually, making a configuration that was regular, beautiful, unique, and very strong.
I am so aware writing this, that it is dependent on kinship ties within traditional families. I see my grandparents when I look at my grandchild. This is good and rich.
If anyone can tell me what it’s like to hold your adopted grandkid, or to be the aunt or uncle without kids of their own, blessedly intertwined into the lives of nieces and nephews; well, we need those stories, too. Let me know if you can write it for us, or talk to me and maybe I can write it.
Because this “Love is love is love” business -- is the only story in town that will last past us.