Truth be told, I wasn’t sure that I was ready to be a grandparent. When our daughter told us that she was expecting our first grandchild back last July I was, yes, joyful, but it was also confusing. Her big announcement about her changing life status meant that my status was changing too. It was a hard concept to wrap my brain around. I try very hard to be the “young” (!) 55 year old in the room, and so attaching “grandma” to my name just didn’t seem to fit. Despite my best efforts to dismiss age as “just a number” this pregnancy would create a fourth living generation in my family and push me closer to a finish line I’m not ready to approach.
I have several friends and acquaintances who are already grandparents and all of them had the same message: “Just you wait, this is a love like no other.” After hearing this from several people I started to panic a little bit on the inside. I secretly told myself, “What if I don’t feel this joy they keep gushing about?” and “I’m not ready yet.” I am at a crossroads in my life. Newly retired from a job of my own making and getting used to the empty nest, I was so looking forward to some carefree years of travel and some, I’ll admit it, selfish pursuits. I really thought grandparent status and the changes it would bring was a year or two out and I would have little in my life to compete with the bucket list in my head.
Fast-forward 8 months. Today marks the one week mark. Little Boy Blue is already one week old and I am only now wrapping words around these past seven days. But that is because words have failed me. They have failed to fully describe how in awe I am of his incredibly smooth skin, the surprise of his delicate red curls, his tiny little hand next to my big wrinkly, (grandma-looking!) one. Just watching the expressions that pass by his face as he sleeps in my arms is something I could easily do for hours. I cup my hand over his perfect little head and can’t believe how tiny it is. His little brain is in a perfectly unaltered state. He knows that love fills him up and comforts him when he asks for it and that right now, that is enough. It is this innocence and my knowing that it is a brief moment of his life that is drawing me in like a magnet. I look at him and I see humanity stripped down to its purist state: a person before the world eats away at who a person was meant to be.
Words can’t fully describe this tiny little boy and how much I love him already. My friends were right. This time is like no other and is worth putting every other piece of my life on hold. It took knowing him to realize that being a grandparent is exactly who I want to be right now.