Reflections from a Mother/Daughter/Grandmother

There were those days as a daughter of a widowed mother that I really couldn’t understand all the feelings, all the love, that a mother felt for her child. It’s not really something a child can grasp. 

Yes, we know our mom loves us, but at a young age we truly cannot comprehend what that means. We cannot understand the depth of that love. That self-sacrificing, desire to do anything-possible-for-your-child kind of love.

Because as a young child, whose emotions are still developing, we just can’t grasp what it all means. We know about loving our mom, but that love is how a child loves. Unconditionally. Without expecting anything but to be loved in return. To feel safe and protected. To believe she’ll always be there for you.

Most of us were fortunate enough to have that in our young lives. I was, but I do know there are many who were not, for many different reasons. And I feel so terribly sorry for each and every one of you who were not that fortunate.

As I grew older, I began to understand that love more. But it wasn’t until I became a mother myself until I truly appreciated it. Experienced it for myself.

I was an older mom when our daughter was born; just like my own mother had been. We’d both thought we’d never have the chance to have a child of our own, and my own mother truly understood how I felt month after month when I didn’t get pregnant. 

I think she was as excited as I was when I was finally able to share the wonderful news with her that she was going to be a grandmother, because her only child was finally going to have a baby! She was definitely as excited as I was as the months went on leading up to our due date. 

She was worried about how sick I was the first 3-4 months. She was as nervous as I was while we waited for the amniocentesis results. And she was as thrilled as we were when we found out we were having a girl! Her friends even gave her a surprise grandmother’s baby shower, which delighted her to no end.

I could hear the joy in her voice when we called her from the hospital after delivering our beautiful daughter. And I’ll never forget the look of love on her face when she saw her granddaughter for the first time. We all cried.

And at that time I finally understood what it was like to love a child unconditionally. I had carried her inside me for 9 months, and she was finally here! The moment she was placed in my arms I knew my life had changed forever. That feeling is like no other. 

And I knew that no matter what time brought for us, no matter the joys and the difficult times, I’d always love this child, and do anything I could for her to raise her to be a strong and loving young woman. Although I couldn’t shield her from skinned knees and broken hearts, I would do whatever I could to give her the best life possible.

And now, 30+ years later, I find myself the grandmother of not one, but three beautiful grandchildren. My daughter’s babies. It seems only yesterday she’d been a baby herself who grew into a beautiful woman, now wife and mother.

I still remember the day she and her husband came over unexpectedly to visit us. They just wanted to bring us something, they said. And they did. A card and a gift. They made us open the card first. And the card had baby booties on it! We also got a sign that said “____ weeks til baby.” They were having a baby! We were going to be grandparents! But somehow I knew even before they told us. Moms know things like that…

I was now going to be the mother of a mother of a child. My daughter was definitely no longer a little girl. She was a grown woman who was now going to have a child of her own. My emotions were everywhere. 

And yes, I still worried about her, especially with all the problems with her pregnancy. Being a mother means that no matter how old your child, she’s still your baby. And you’ll always be concerned. 

But when little Rachel arrived, and a few weeks early at that, as soon as I saw her, I clearly saw my own mother’s eyes looking back at me. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget, and never be able to truly describe. And I felt my mother’s presence so strongly beside me as I looked at the sheer beauty of my first grandchild.

Since then I’ve been blessed with two other very special grandmother moments. 

The first was receiving a picture on my phone of little 3 year old Rachel looking at a book titled “Big Sister”.  I didn’t have to guess what that meant! Another baby! We were all thrilled! And little Ryleigh came along three weeks before her big sister’s birthday. I was now a grandmother to two beautiful girls!

But Ashley and Chris still wanted a boy to complete their family. This time it took a lot longer than we expected. So much longer that it brought back all the memories of my bouts with infertility, and every time they were unsuccessful I felt the pain as much as she did.

Last Mother’s Day we only got to spend time with Ashley and Rachel because Ryleigh was sick. 

Fortunately Chris took care of her so Ashley and Rachel could at least join us for our Mother’s Day brunch. But it wasn’t quite the same without everyone around. Ashley wasn’t feeling good either, and I hoped she wasn’t getting what Ryleigh had, but I suddenly had one of my “moments” that that was a good thing. Call it mother’s or grandmother’s intuition, but I just felt it…

And less than a week later, a picture came across my phone with both of our two granddaughters smiling and wearing very special shirts which said “Promoted to Big Sister” and “Big Sister Again.” I couldn’t punch in her number fast enough! Finally our third grandchild was on its way! What a wonderful belated Mother’s Day gift for us both!

We anxiously awaited the results of a blood test several weeks later to find out what we were having. I was tasked with getting the email results and then my husband and I would go to their house and let them break a piñata filled with the right color confetti. And yes, I’d bought two different bags of it.  

But somehow I just knew. So much so that I almost only bought one color. And when the email came in I was almost scared to open it. And when I finally did, my intuition was confirmed, and I wanted to scream with joy! And I couldn’t even tell anyone yet, including grandpa!

But it was all worth it when our granddaughters broke the piñata (with a little help from grandmom) and blue confetti spilled out everywhere! Ashley was ecstatic and jumping up and down and Chris was just in shock. But he was delighted as well!

Although this was the most difficult of her pregnancies, which included several hospital visits, our long- awaited grandson Ryan was born 5 weeks early and 5 days before Christmas, weighing in at 6 pounds and perfectly healthy. The best Christmas gift we could have received.

This is the most special Mother’s Day yet for our family. Three beautiful grandchildren and the best daughter and son-in-law we could have. I only wish my own mother could be here with us to see our special family. But I do feel she’s watching us from heaven, with my father by her side, both of them smiling from ear to ear.

To everyone who has taken the time to read this, may your day be as blessed as ours, and may your lives be full to overflowing.

For those of you who are still waiting to become a mom or a grandmother, never give up hope, because a blessing will come to you when you least expect it, and sometimes in ways you cannot imagine.

God bless you and your families on this Mother’s Day.