You Have to Experience It for Yourself.
When you were pregnant your friends and family tried to tell you how it would feel when you, too, became a parent. Nothing they said could fully explain the mixture of emotions you really felt when you looked at that little person for the first time, though – could it?
Well, I can tell you becoming a grandparent is exactly the same mystery.
I am now an experienced grandmother with 4 little ones. (Grandparenting Is Hard Work). When I first learned I would be a grandparent – there was a mixture of wonder and fear at what that would entail.
First, the fears:
I am not that old – am I?
Well, yes you are. I remember thinking my own mother was "old" when I presented her with her first grandchild. I think this is really what I would call the "never trust anyone over 30 effect."
Remember when you were in your 20s and you thought everyone over 30 was really old? And 40 or 50…yikes. Then you became those ages – and it didn't seem so old – did it? This year I will turn 60 – and I am thinking that is pretty darn young!
Will they still need me? I won’t be a "mom" to them anymore.
I really worried that my 'usefulness' as the mom was over. Now that my own kids were moms and dads – they would no longer really need one of their own.
Your kids need their mom – just in a different way. The advice has changed to topics you have experienced – and they have not. Diapers, sleep-deprivation, tantrums, fever.
I didn't do everything well – how can I help them?
No one ever does everything well. Your kids can learn just as much from things you made mistakes with, as those things you mastered. It can be embarrassing to think back to those things you did when you were the one learning to parent, but you can help your own kids learn 2 important lessons:
- You were not perfect. Or infallible.
- Kids are resilient. Many mistakes are short-lived.
What if I don't know the answers?
Well, get ready – because you won't know the answers. Not all of them (or even most of them). Each baby is different – raising different questions than you dealt with before. And, it's ok not to know. It is just as important to be there as a sounding board and offer emotional support.
And now, the wonderment:
I raised a pretty great kid.
Seeing your baby look at their own baby is humbling. And touching. And it lets you see that you have raised your own child to that point where they can now take over that role for their own child. It is a very gratifying feeling.
My child is a better parent than I was.
Even though I made mistakes, the man (or woman) my child has become learned important things like compassion, tenderness and the strength a parent needs – and can now share that.
My kids now can begin to get what I went through in raising them.
I don't mean the "what goes around, comes around" kind of feeling. Once your child becomes a parent – they start to experience how you truly felt (and still feel) about them.
- That mama bear feeling you have defending your child.
- The total fear you have when they are seriously ill.
- Why you said "I wish I were the one with the fever – not you."
- The pride you felt at their milestones – first smile, first tooth, first step, first car, first child. (yes, time does begin to race ahead).
Being a grandparent is a feeling like no other.
Hearing my grandchildren say my name for the first time is incredibly sweet. And – watching my kids become a parent as I become a grandparent is a wonderful rite of passage I am blessed to have experienced.