Becoming a grandmom for the first time is beyond anything I imagined. I dutifully watched pictures and videos of all of my friends’ grandchildren and listened to them oohing and aahing over every detail of development. I always did a little internal eye rolling at all the emotional gushiness. Then I became a grandmom.
I was not prepared for the fierce rush of love when I held that tiny person for the first time. I felt great love for my three children when they were born but somehow this was different. This was my child’s child and somehow that combination produced a tsunami of love, and protective instincts.
During the first two weeks I stayed nearby relearning all the myriad details that are necessary for the care of a newborn. Of course everything now is very different from the way I was taught to care for my children. I learned to put the baby to sleep on his back wrapped like a burrito in a swaddling blanket. I learned how to put complicated bottles together and I learned how to stare at the baby monitor when I wasn’t in the baby’s room. I also coped with his parents getting the flu, three days after the baby came home. Although exhausted, I loved every minute of spending time with the baby.
I realized this is a new chance to hold a baby in my arms and rock him to sleep. I can read books and blow bubbles and watch the wonder of a child as he learns to crawl and tries to catch water in his hand. I can do all this without worrying about keeping a schedule or cleaning the house. I can do this knowing he has wonderful parents who love him and I can leave and go home at the end of the day and collapse.
As I watch my first grandson sleep in my arms, I realize we get to grow older together even though I’ll get there a little sooner. In the meantime, I get to enjoy every minute of this new experience. There are so many things I want to promise. I promise to kiss you whenever I can and get down on the floor and play baby games with you. I will be a child when you want me to be and someone to lean on when you need me to be. I promise to say yes more than no. I promise to follow your parents’ schedule for you with the possible exception of rocking you to sleep instead of putting you in the crib right away. I promise to be delighted at every new thing you learn and amazed that you are learning it all so quickly. Most of all, I promise to love you, love you, love you.