With my birthday just days after Christmas, I have fallen into a ‘tradition’ of spending most of it looking back over the past year with regret. I celebrate with my family but when everyone is in bed I spend hours visiting the dark places in my mind and fill it with negative thoughts and bucket loads of drama. I pull apart all the conflict, the hurt and the tears of the past 12 months. I examine all the times that I was a disappointment – to myself or others and I indulge in misery.
Not this year.
With just one week until Christmas, I have decided to on my first year as a Grandma. I hardly recognise the person I was then. I took worrying to a whole new level.
I worried if I had a phone call from my daughter, or if I didn’t have a phone call from my daughter.
What if the baby was early? What if the baby was late?
How would she cope with motherhood? How would I cope with Grandparenthood?
What if I missed the birth? What if I was there for the birth? You get the idea.
Of course, if I had just trusted the process, I would have saved myself a whole heap of stress. If I put my faith in Mother Nature and let her work her magic, I would have known that my daughter would just naturally grow in the Mother she needed to be. She would be provided with all the maternal instinct required to love and cherish her baby. And, sure enough, she just got on with it. No drama, no complaints.
She was on a mission to become a Mamma and nothing was going to stop her.
Something I had not expected to happen, was that our relationship became much closer. Always a Daddy’s girl (even now), but was now asking for my advice. We kept in touch constantly. I saw more of her as every week we met up to discuss all things baby and make plans. As her belly began to grow, so did my own maternal instincts. If we were out and about, I felt an overwhelming urge to protect her and my unborn Granddaughter. If we were crossing a busy road, I just wanted to run out and stop all the traffic, so she could cross safely. I watched her every move and everybody that was in close proximity to her. This was quite overwhelming and, as usual, I took it to the extreme and put myself under enormous pressure and felt 100% responsible for the pair of them.
So many milestones came and went, the scan was a particular talking point. Not because of the ‘gender reveal’, quite the opposite. The hospital couldn’t tell. The baby was not in the right position and refused to move. This somehow seemed very fitting. We had to wait a bit longer, but I didn’t mind, I knew it was a boy…..
There are many wonderful things that happen during pregnancy, but for me, watching my daughter mature and grow into an even more amazing human being, was inspiring.
Being so self-absorbed in my own thoughts, I had failed to realise the wide reaching effects that this baby had amongst the rest of the family. Grandparents were being promoted to Great Grandparents, my sons were to be Uncles. This baby was touching so many lives already. There was a wealth of love. I see that now.
As the months passed, I dared myself to imagine what the future looked like with this baby. And there was that question again
Just how was I going to be a Grandmother?
I dont know exactly when this was, but I began to write. Ramblings at first. All the words in my head. All the negativity. All the self-doubt. I kept writing it all down.
Why couldn’t I see all the wonder that was right in front of me?
At some point there was a subtle shift. My writing changed. I was recalling visits to my daughter’s to help with the nursery. I found myself thinking more and more about the future and less about the past. The writing had focussed me on the bad and moved me toward not only the good, but towards possibilities. I wanted to share this milestone in my life – I finally felt ready. I knew I had to take a leap of faith and put my words out there.
The Reluctant Grandma was born.
When I look around at my home tonight, my cupboard is full of bottles and baby food. My spare room is filled with toys. I have hundreds of photos that have captured every moment. I am looking ahead with excitement and anticipation.
That’s quite a year, wouldn’t you say?
Wishing a Merry Christmas to you all