I clearly remember the day the job started. It was summer. Bright sunshine pouring through the open window of my daughter’s London flat. We were visiting for Sunday lunch and making small talk with her lovely husband while she put the finishing touches to the meal.
Then my daughter walked in from the kitchen, carrying a dish of lasagne. She put it down on the table. She stood up and cleared her throat. ‘We have some news for you,’ she said. She paused. ‘We’re expecting a baby.’
And for a second, the world stopped turning.
And then it started turning again.
But it was a new world.
I was the last of my group of friends to become a grandma. I’d congratulated, celebrated, commiserated. I’d cooed over other people’s baby pictures; peered into prams; helped them choose tiny clothes to give as presents; listened to their tales; nodded, smiled, and all the time, a small inner voice was just crying out: ‘When will it be my turn?”
Ever since she turned one, I have looked after my gorgeous granddaughter two days a week from 7am to 7pm while my daughter returned to work. Currently my daughter is back home on maternity leave, having just given birth to my grandson. So now I mind ‘Little G’ for one day only.
Looking back over the past fourteen months, I have to say I never worked so hard, loved so hard, or laughed so hard in my life. I have never felt so exhilarated or so exhausted at the same time.
In the spirit of sisterhood, I offer the following thoughts for those who travel with me through this wonderful experience, or are about to start out on it.
The overwhelming joy you feel when you first see your new-born grandchild.
Realising that even after all those years you CAN still change a nappy and give a bottle.
Sharing delight in a small stone, a bumble bee, a flower blooming in a crack in the pavement, a yellow school bus, an orange.
Reaching into your bag for your mobile phone and finding:
Lying awake in the small hours just smiling and smiling over the memory of some funny thing that happened during the day. I started a blog to remember my special times with Little G. You forget so fast.
Watching them enjoy eating the food you prepared for them.
Singing the same song over and over because ‘again’ means ‘again’.
Recalling that smile of triumph when they finally reach the top of the climbing frame all on their own for the first time.
And best of all, two chubby little arms round your neck and a little voice whispering: ‘I love you Grandma.’
So, are you a seasoned grandma or new one? Maybe you’ve just learned that you are about to become one for the first time? Please share your delights and joys in the comments below.