Becoming a Grandmother, Granny, Nonni or Memaw

becoming a grandmother

“Hey, Granny,” is probably not the way any of us ever wanted to be addressed. Fortunately, actually becoming a grandmother is whole lot different. It’s getting there that has its challenges.

Who among us that have children haven’t heard someone say, “You’ll love becoming a grandmother”?

As we raise our own children, the memories of the wee ages isn’t that great. Add to that the fear of an early unplanned grandmotherhood.

Later, who would have thought there’d be social pressure to become a grandmother? Remember the days of who was having babies and who wasn’t? Along comes grandma age and it starts again with even less control. I write this prelude with a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

The Journey Begins

In all seriousness, my journey to becoming a grandmother started when my first daughter was born. I knew soon after that the birth anomaly she had would affect her fertility. At the time, this fact seemed very minor in light of all her other health issues. Her fertility was something I could file away.

As my daughter became old enough to start thinking about having children, she and I talked about what that might look like for her. We are Catholic, so there were added conversations that led to true soul searching.

When she met the man who would become her husband, she told him within weeks that she could not have children. He responded by saying he was totally okay with that, and besides, how would he even know that he possessed the ability to father children? He had no intention of missing out on on her because of this.

After they got married, they began to talk about raising a family.

They talked about different forms of adoption and I grew scared. I spent a good part of my life trying to help my daughter manage her level of stress because I’d noticed early on that the higher her stress level, the more often she had medical issues. When she and her husband mentioned foster adopting a sibling group of four I came undone. My husband and I cornered our son-in-law and practically interrogated the poor guy. I’ll be painfully honest and say there was only one (adult) child I was concerned about and it wasn’t a foster child. It was my own child. I feared for her health and well being.

I have faith. I generally don’t make any important decision without complete clarity. That clarity never seems to be easy but the answer is solidly clear. This was not my decision. There would be no clarity with this for me. There would, however, be a letting go. On one hand it wasn’t easy and on another it was freeing. As my daughter and son-in-law navigated the foster adoption process to the finalization, I watched – from a safe distance. What I thought I was watching and what was actually occuring differed. I thought I was watching a potential disaster. In fact, when the call came from my daughter saying they’d been selected as foster parents I happened to be with a friend. When I turned to her and said, “My inadequacies will perpetuate until the end of time…” she knew I felt the guilt of having had a child with medical issues.

Foster adoption is risky. I was worried it wouldn’t work out. I did not want my daughter to go through more potential pain.  

becoming a grandmotherI went to see the baby, and I went home and cried. I cried for this tiny innocent baby who wiggled and cooed just wanting to be loved. I cried for my daughter who just wanted to love her. I cried for joy and fear and for hope.

I slowly realized, as I watched from my safe distance, that what I was really witnessing was a loving embracing of a gift from God by two faith filled, loving people who had their own complete clarity.

I asked my daughter a few months ago how she was doing and how she felt about things, and she said, “I love my life.” My heart filled.

Thankfully, my daughter and son-in-law lovingly allowed and included all of us in this new life, with our new family member.  

The adoption was final after seven months. My daughter and her husband haven’t held grudges for the over-reactions and heavily expressed concerns from her sisters and by my husband. For this, I am thankful.

I left it up to my granddaughter, who will have her first birthday this month, to choose a suitable title for me. Whatever she chooses will be music. As of now, I’m happy with a silly smile and a copy pig snort. The language of love has no boundaries.


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