Saturday, 12 May 2012

Happy Mother's Day: Granny Up!

This year will be a very different Mother's Day for me and a few of my friends.

In 2012, we officially became grandmothers for the first time. We watched, in awe, as our children took up the challenge of the first diaper and swaddling. We agonized over whether they were ready for parenthood, remembering every misstep we took ourselves in keeping these new bundles alive and out of trouble. We heard the echo of our own mothers' voices as we offered reassurance about a cough or a wound.

And if we were to be totally honest with ourselves, we felt pangs of longing for our own youth, for the bodies that once turned a man's head, for the creaseless corners of our eyes and mouths, for the smooth surface of a virgin neck.

I wasn't quite ready to be a grandmother, I realize that now. I was angry at the prospect, disappointed that my young son did not have a plan, a car, or a good job that would offer his new daughter a secure life of endless possibilities. Then I realized, for all my own planning and best efforts, things didn't always work out in my own life. Regardless, we always made it through somehow.

The lyrics of John Lennon still echo: Life is what happens when you're making other plans.
But when I met my granddaughter, when I saw the love my son and his girl had for this child, I realized that it was none of my business. This was not my journey, it was theirs. All I could do was lend a helping hand, leverage my experience, and give my support in any way possible.
That is the Grandmother's role.

Good parenting is a selfless task. There is no manual for it. No recipe to guarantee a perfect little person. As we see in the news all too often these days, even the best trees can grow rotten apples. And yet some of the worst trees produce the sweetest of offerings.

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.
The best you can ever do is the best you can do.

There's my mother's voice again.
The endless cliche.

As long as there is love and optimism, perhaps a sense of humor thrown in along with way, you can usually do the job right.

I learned that lesson along the way, in my own journey through motherhood.

I might not have been the best mother in the world. But hey, intention is everything, right?

So happy Mother's Day to Shyla, Skylar's mommy. To Danielle, just weeks after having Andre. And to the other young women out there who are celebrating their first ever Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to Mary and to Debbie and to Suzanne -- my wise friends, old and new, who have had to granny-up. And of course, to Angie, Shyla's mother who shares this journey and little Skylar with me and my family.

No Mother's Day would be complete without a shout out to my own mother, Vera, and to my grandmothers Jessie and Ina, who died long ago, but who left their indelible mark on my life and gave me the courage to believe in the power of children.

I wish they could see little Skylar, the blue eyed princess who is making it all worthwhile all over again.

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