Nonna's Favorite Quotes:

Nonna's Favorite Quotes: "The best way to make children good is to make them happy." — Oscar Wilde, author and poet

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grandma Me

This was sent to me by a friend after the birth of my first grandchild, Lina. There was no author listed so I don't know who to credit for this sweet recollection of experiencing your first grandchild.

Who can ever imagine the sense of grandmotherhood? Who can ever picture herself in a rocking-chair granny?  Mommy, yes. Grandmother? Certainly not I. My children went to Lamaze and happy little parenting classes, but who tells us what it will be like?

Like all grandparents, I was given a warning of some months about the event, but who can be prepared?

The first person to clue me into the world of grandparenthood was my friend Isabelle. We were lunching, and somewhere between the salad and the coffee, I broke the news. Yes, I was very thrilled. Yes, I was ready. Yes, I understood what it would mean.

Isabelle listened and then sat back and smiled knowingly.

I was bewildered by her smugness.

"You only think you know," she said sagely. "Wait. Just wait. No matter what you expect, you won't be prepared."

She was right. I wasn't prepared when the call came at 4 A.M. that the baby would be born within hours.

I rushed to the airport, caught the 7 A.M. plane, and ran for a cab to take me to the hospital. I did not telephone from the airport to learn what happened (I could not bear to hear about this birth from an impersonal voice on the telephone.)

I went immediately to the maternity-floor waiting room, where all our family was assembled, and I heard those wonderful words. "It's a healthy girl born ten minutes ago."

So. Ten minutes old and already this little girl was arriving ahead of me.

Moments later, in her father's arms, the baby came to meet us.

To my shock and amazement I burst into tears. But not just ordinary, run-of-the-mill tears. This was old-fashioned, heartrending sobbing. For in that moment I was touched by every life that had preceded this new one.

My father, dead before even my son was born, was there. So, too, were my grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins. In a great, convulsive tide I was swept back to my beginnings - child, young wife, mother.

I was filled with the enormity of that sense of belonging, all of us, each to the other. We are bound by our own inexorable, nonending saga. We are the human story. We are us. And now she is us. And only God knows what lies ahead of us - and all life.

No wonder I cried inconsolably.

No wonder my friend could not describe it.

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