These can be joyful, nostalgic, sad, and heartwrenching. But you already knew that.
Last month’s milestone hit all four categories for me – my first granddaughter graduated High School. I keep having flashbacks to her (and mine) much younger days. Some of you, longtime readers, have witnessed her growing up through this blog.
She became 18 this summer (an adult!) This fall, she began her college journey. I’m so proud of her, and I always have been. Even as a toddler, she was smart, not just the ABCs or numbers, but smart in general. Like she could reason things out. A natural leader, she practically ran the preschool she attended. Her schoolmates followed her lead. I think back on it and wonder if they even had a choice. The girl is a powerful, strong-willed force when she puts her mind to it. Her sweet face somehow disarmed her in people’s minds, and they did not realize they were being bossed around.
My daughter would remind me – “don’t let her boss you around!” She forgets that I raised a strong-willed daughter myself. She would be surprised to learn that I admired her strong will and assertiveness. Her teenage years wore me out because I am a natural pacifist. A follower, not a leader. Timid and not assertive. Yet, I had to stand up to her and stick to my guns because I am a mom. Moms don’t give up.
I used to think that a mom’s reward (revenge?) was when you watched your child deal with their own kids that were just like them. Although that is kind of fun, the reward is so much better than that. It’s the grandchildren. You don’t even realize this until you have one, and that is probably because no one has the words to explain the overwhelming joy and love that takes over your heart. The shock of how intense the emotions are is confusing – you did not feel this way when your own child was born. And why not? Should you feel guilty about this?
At first, I felt guilty about the lack of such intense love for my child. I struggled with this until it occurred to me that what made it different was the fear. It was not there with the grandchild.
I was not her parent. The “business end” of being a mom is not my job. You know – the business of doctor & dentist appointments, parent-teacher conferences, field trips, permission slips, and absence notes. And that is only the school stuff.
This sweet baby in my arms has good parents to take care of all that and then some. Baby and grandma have a lot of cuddling and giggling to do. Snuggling up in the big chair by the wood stove, watching Backyardigans. Maybe Free Willy or Three Ninjas, for the upteenth millionth time.
The next thing you know – they are starting college.