My oldest child, Heather, gave me the best Christmas present of my life last December when she and her husband Robbie presented me with a small box after all of the other presents had been opened. This small red and white striped box with a red bow was sitting on my lap at the end of the evening, everyone looking on intently, ready to find out what was inside. As I slowly opened the box and peeled back the tissue paper inside, little did I know that my life was about to change in that very instant. I was going to become a grandmother, the handwritten note pinned to the newborn onesie said!
I am blessed to have married into a family that already has many grandchildren, and they have all lovingly accepted me as another grandparent in their lives. I have thoroughly enjoyed my relationships with all of them and I've gotten to "taste" what it's like to be a grandmother, but have only gotten to enjoy it mostly from a distance since they are scattered around the country. With families living apart from each other more and more, this kind of grandparent/grandchild relationship is so common, and you just find a way to make it work. Love and commitment make it possible, no matter the distance.
What I'm now learning, though, is that being a grandparent to grandchildren that live far away, is a little different than being one to a grandchild that lives close by. Heather is the first of my children to have a child of her own and thankfully she lives close enough that I get to see her frequently. I've been able to witness the growing baby bump and movements. I've been able to help her plan out the nursery, answer questions she has, and learn all of the things that have changed since I gave birth to my last child 16 years ago. I've been there to listen to the heart beat at several of her monthly appointments and later this week I will get to see that growing baby in an ultrasound. I feel so blessed that she has included me in all of these things, but there is a part of me that feels sad that I have missed out on all of the others.....getting to be a part of their worlds from the time they are born. Does that mean I love them any less? Absolutely not. It just makes the time I spend with them very special.
As I write this, I'm realizing that as much as I have loved becoming a grandmother when Don and I married, it wasn't until now that I truly feel like I have transitioned into that role. Like everything else in life, there is an adjustment process and it takes longer when you're not immersed in it. I can honestly tell you, though, that it's one of the most beautiful feelings in the world!
Are you a new grandparent or one in the making? Married into a family and become and instant grandparent? Share your experiences!