Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On Becoming a Grandmother

In honour of Grandparents’ Day this weekend, I’m sharing a story I wrote upon the birth of my firstborn’s firstborn.

I thought I was prepared.

I was a mother, after all. I already knew what it meant to love someone so much it hurt. I understood the old adage that to be a parent is to walk around forever with your heart outside your body. I had written in my journal, revealing all the emotions I’d discovered tag-teaming in my heart: happiness, melancholy, anxiety, joy, anticipation, worry. I had seen the ultrasound pictures. I’d crocheted a soft, fuzzy blue blanket, patiently undoing all my bungled stitches and doing them over so it would be a perfect square. I had memorized the verses in Psalm 139 that tell how God wonderfully forms us in our mother’s womb. I had prayed daily for this child and for his parents since I learned of his existence. I had written letters to his mom and dad, assuring them how proud I was of them both, how they would be excellent parents.

I’d prayed for myself, too. I’d wrestled with the idea that I was going to be a grandmother. Shouldn’t I be wiser first? Or sweeter? Or at the very least, a better cook? How exactly did one cram for this event? I had even admitted to myself that I would soon be sleeping with someone’s grandfather. That idea took a little getting used to, let me tell you!

I had bragged to my friends. I had celebrated with my mother. I had gifted my daughter-in-law with maternity clothes and bought the most irresistible little stuffed puppy for the baby.

The day he was born, I rode along with his other grandparents to the hospital to meet our mutual little descendent for the first time. We were told to wait in the hallway while the nurses finished up whatever they were doing with him and his mother in the room. Given the hospital rules, I fully expected my first sight of my little grandson would be in his plastic baby bed and I was prepared.

But when I turned around, I instantly knew that no amount of groundwork could have prepared me for that moment. Instead of the expected baby bed, I was beholding my own firstborn carrying his firstborn in his arms.

Keegan and Me on the day he was born in 2007
I came unglued. Part of me was carried back 26 years to the day I first laid eyes on my son. But those 26 years had passed in an instant, and here I was looking at the next generation, with the same dark skin and the same head full of thick, dark hair. He was beautiful and I was smitten. I didn’t even try to check the tears running down my cheeks as I held him in my arms and hugged his dad as tight as I could with the baby between us. What a cherished moment!

This little boy is now in Kindergarten and has two little brothers. Every day brings new adventures, new things to learn, new memories to make, and new opportunities to wonder at the marvelous work of our Creator. These little guys have taught me that sometimes stopping to watch ducks is more important than getting in out of the rain. They’ve uncovered my own impatient ways, the ones I thought I had overcome but now realize the opportunities to demonstrate patience have only become less frequent. They’ve reminded me that time spent cuddling a sleeping baby in a rocking chair trumps pretty much anything.

Most of all, I’ve come to realize that no matter how hard I tried, I could not have prepared to love someone so profusely, or to learn so much from someone so small. 

Happy Grandparents Day!


  1. Thanks Terrie!

    How do you make a "happy face crying" emoticon? If I knew I'd be adding a big one here right now.

    Blessings on ya!

    1. Aww. Thanks, Doug. I don't know how either, but if you dedicate your next snot-filled Kleenex to me I'd be honoured.

  2. Grandchildren are as good as they were advertised. Laurie and I have enjoyed ours. There are days you think you might have another opportunity to "get it right." Of course, the pressure of having to get it right is gone. You can "love 'em and leave 'em."