Being a grandmother was something I’d thought was part of the very distant future, and actually only a remote possibility. My only daughter had always said, ” I don’t EVER want kids!”, as she observed me struggling with her small little brother, or going through the discipline and homework wars with my middle son. She was the oldest. Oh so happy I was to have a girl as my first born child. It was like a dream to me. Since I’d been a small child, I’d dreamt of being mother to a little girl, who would look,talk and act like me. I knew her name would be Shannon, a beautiful Irish name I loved from the moment I’d first heard it. That icy cold December day in the delivery room when I gave birth to her, I could hear my mother through the fog that I was in, saying, “We have our girl!!” The delivery had been difficult, with my slight build and a baby weighing over 9 lb trying to enter the world sideways. The doctor had had to use forceps, and I’d had medication that dulled the experience. But it was all so worth it when the nurse later brought me my gorgeous, chubby and squiggling baby girl and laid her in my arms. I said, “Hello my little Shannon.” My world was rocked. It was changed forever.
As weeks passed I realized her eyes were brown, not blue like my own, and her hair was straight, not wavy. But she grew into a beauty far more elegant than I could have ever dreamed. She had high cheekbones and almond shaped eyes. She loved animals and nature, music, dancing and laughing…just like me. She was my treasure, worth every parenting hurdle we’d ever struggled across. She was my beautiful daughter. I thought that nothing could ever surpass that joy. The births of two sons were equally wonderful and had their stories to tell, but I’d seemed to have reached a plateau of blissful motherhood.
Enter Sarah Marie…
Sarah Marie entered the world on a warm September day; a day preceded by nine months of watching and waiting while my daughter’s belly grew large and round. Nine months of preparing and seeing to it that she had all the things she would need to start out on the journey into motherhood, and trying to make her feel more special than she’d ever felt before. The day of the baby shower I lovingly strung up a small clothesline of tiny baby things that she had worn as an infant. Each little onesie and sleeper seemed only a heartbeat away from a time when my newborn daughter had worn them as she lie cradled in my arms. When Shannon walked in with her big belly and slender yet womanly curves, her hair full and flowing, and her skin so glowing and lovely~it was almost too much for me. She was my beautiful daughter.
In the delivery room, the hours ticked by as Shannon was induced into labor. We watched TV and laughed and joked, as things grew more calm and serious. The three of us, Shannon, her boyfriend and myself, waited with nervous baited breath for the moment when the screaming infant would arrive…and then she did. That same maternal force that had once pushed Shannon out into the world, pushed out her own child. She was so pink, like a big ball of bubble gum, and her cry was soft and coaxing. I tried to breath. I did not need coaxing. I was torn between comforting and caring for the love of my life, my daughter, and having my eyes riveted to this new person who had arrived. I had gone through a rebirth of my own in that moment, once again, from a woman to a mother, and now from a mother to a grandmother. A Nana had been born and this was my beautiful granddaughter.
Sarah Marie is 5 1/2 mo. old now. She is blond and blue-eyed, has a very tiny rosebud mouth, and a pouty expression that catches me dead center in my chest each time I see it. She is the image of her mother at the same age. She has changed my life forever.
Becoming a grandmother is a metamorphoses. Your children are growing and your job will basically be done. One by one the birds prepare to fly off. Then suddenly you find yourself captive to a brand new soul. Watching your daughter become a mother is beyond description. My fears of my journey and work being soon finished, is gone now, because I have this new child to nurture and love. And best of all, the rules have changed. Now the road will be less rocky and the rearing dilemmas will belong to my daughter, while I am free to skim the cream off the top. I am anxious for spring and summer, dipping her in the baby pool, showing her how to grow a flower seed, digging in the dirt with my best spoons, watching caterpillars, catching lightening bugs, eating thanksgiving turkey, hanging stockings and waiting for Santa, and of course squeezing her as tight as I possibly can without breaking her every chance I get. It will be the ultimate trip down life’s road.