They were gently placed in my waiting arms with the most selfless of acts.
I am certain that my children, their parents, only wanted to hold them tightly to themselves, these amazing new bundles of pink blessings. But they knew my need to touch them, to gaze into their eyes, and to wrap my arms around these children of my children. To share in their beautiful new beginnings.
The profoundness of those moments holding those newborn wonders will never be forgotten. Because the minute that I held those sweet baby bundles, I knew that I had moved into another passage of my life. I was a grandparent. My children were parents. Life turned a corner at that point.
I’ve thought about those moments a lot, as I’ve grown older, and realized some very important facts about myself. It was at those moments, with each of my children, that I looked at them with new eyes. The circle of life shone through with a clarity that magnified the meaning of that phrase with crystal transparency.
Suddenly, I knew without a shred of doubt that my children’s lives had moved on, beyond mine, which is exactly what parents ultimately wish for. Because if we are honest with ourselves, we always think of their future first, above all else. The fear of not being there for my children, from some unforeseen premature tragedy, was always in that horrible place in my mind, where worry breeds sleepless nights and exaggerates awfulness.
My prayers always centered around being there for them during their infancy, childhood, adolescence, love, marriage, and the births of their own children. But it was at the point of seeing their beautiful faces gaze down at their own children with awestruck love that I knew. That shocking moment when they recognized that fierceness and tenderness could meld into a love that they never knew existed before this day.
That was the moment that a rush of completeness swelled in this mother’s heart causing tears of pure joy to spill over from my eyes. I had completed my role, my prayers had been answered, and I was overcome with profound gratefulness.
Oh, to be sure, I am still needed in their lives and they let me know that in so many beautiful and extraordinary ways. But, I also know, without a doubt, that if my life were to end tomorrow, that my children would get through it – their life would go on.
They had their children, now, to move them past their grief and their need to be there for them. That sense of completeness fills me with such comfort and joy.
This evolution of life, through the birth of my grandchildren, has taught me so many other things about my heart, mind, and soul.
It’s taught me that genetics is more than just the color of eyes, shape of hands, or facial structure. It is also personality, wit, love of art, quietness of spirit that passes through threads of generations connecting family traits through the ages.
In my Moonflower Blooms blog, “Mamacita” tells the story of my mother and how her strength of personality shows through in all the women and girls in our family. It’s a beautiful thing to witness as each young girl uncovers that familial trait that comes from her.
Being a grandmother has taught me that now, more than ever, I want to retain the spirit of youth with a healthy mind, body, and soul. I work out regularly. I treat my body with the respect that my age demands. I search inwardly on ways to satisfy my soul through creativity and living out my dreams. My desire to be a “youthful” grandma moves me to be all that I can be.
It’s taught me that it is now my turn to pass along the love of our family heritage. To inspire conversations, communication, and sharing of stories that only I know as told from my parents. If not shared, they do not live on. My blogging website “Moonflower Blooms” was created primarily for this purpose – telling the stories.
It’s motivated me to create photo albums and videos that will someday be pulled from their shelves and looked at over and over by children from future generations. For them to have an awareness through pictures of where they came from.
I’ve realized that it’s ok to share our grandchildren with other grandparents, step-grandparents, in-laws, and other various family members. Our children are from multiple and blended families. You want your grandchildren to have many, many people who love them. It takes a community to raise them. You can all be part of their precious lives.
I’ve learned to keep conversations and communication open. I try to spend time with them individually and give each of them personal attention. And when you do feel the threat of that tie growing further and further apart during those high school years, take action. Text, call, schedule dinners, pedicures, hikes, etc. Keep the contact there. The best reward in the world is seeing a text “Hi Nana, let’s do dinner this week”!
Always remember you are the grandparent, not the parent. We can help, support, lend a helping hand, and be there whenever we are needed. But, unless asked, our children are the ones who are raising our grandchildren. Remember and respect their parenting.
When I held my newborn grandchildren, they were my reality that the circle of life is moving and our heritage lives on within each of them. As I look at their tender young faces now, I continue to marvel that they are each a part of me, in some way. I watch, with amazement, as they grow taller and become smarter and more beautiful each day.
The circle feels to be turning too fast and my selfish soul wishes to tuck them away and never let them escape from my reach. But as I look at their parents, my children, I only see the true joy of letting them grow into beautiful adults that have given me so much joy and pride beyond my dreams.
They are my reward for getting older. The circle has to keep turning and all that we can do is hold on and enjoy the moments as our star achievements for a life well lived.
What lessons have you learned from your grandchildren? What lessons have you taught them? Please join the conversation and share your stories.