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.

Still Missing You

It’s now been almost sixteen years since I last spoke to you. Since I was last able to hug you and kiss you. Talk about life and share stories.

It’s been too long since I was last able to talk to you about things I was going through; that I needed your advice about. And there have been so very many times in these last almost 16 years that I’ve needed to talk to you. To tell you what’s going on. 

To tell you about our happy times. About your granddaughter’s wedding and her wonderful husband. To tell you about your two beautiful great granddaughters, one who’s named after you.

To tell you about your friends and what’s been going on in their lives.

To ask for your guidance and advice, because even though I’m an adult, and now a grandmother as well, I still want so much to be able to talk with you and ask for your help. 

Although I’ve been on my own without you for all this time, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still want your insight on life. I miss being able to talk about my problems with you. Because you always seemed to have the right answers, whether I understood it at the time or not.

You and I survived the untimely loss of my father together. You were there for me while your own heart was shattered into a zillion pieces, and while I didn’t totally understand the whole situation and what it meant, since I was only 8 years old, you hid so much pain from me so I could have as normal a childhood as possible, with you being mom as well as dad to me.

It wasn’t until I lost you that I discovered all the challenges and problems you faced during that time. You never told me, and I’d never asked.

You helped me through two painful divorces and never once criticized my choices. You helped me through heartbreak and encouraged me that I’d eventually find the right one. And you were right.

You were with me when my husband Ben went through his first open heart surgery, at a time when that was not a common operation. You were probably as worried as I was, but you never told me. You only encouraged me and assured me he’d be okay. And he was.

You supported me in the pain of infertility; you rejoiced with me when I finally got pregnant and gave you a granddaughter. And you suffered with me when I had a tubal pregnancy which caused me to lose the babies I was carrying, and almost caused me to lose my mind. Because you knew exactly how I felt, because you’d had the same problems, but had kept them all to yourself.

You loved your granddaughter unconditionally and did everything you could for her. And you would have been so very happy to see her married and now with two little girls of her own.

So many times I’ve wanted to be able to tell you. To share with you, and ask what advice you could give in so many situations. Or just listen to me share my joys as well as my worries.

I miss you so much. Holidays and family times are still not the same without you. I still miss your smile, your presence, and your unconditional love. I still dream about your being with us, and wake up wondering if that dream was sent to me to remind me you’re still watching over me. There are even times, when out of nowhere, I clearly hear your voice saying my name. 

I will continue to miss you because we are part of each other. I will always love you. And I will never forget you.

And I know the day will come when we are together again. Until then,

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

A Very Special Mother’s Day

Of course they should all be special. It’s a day we honor our mother, the woman who brought us into this world. For most of us, she’s the woman who first loved us, and loved us unconditionally, fed us and played with us, cared for us, protected us, and was always there when we needed her.

But this year is an especially special Mother’s Day, at least in our family.

While it is my first Mother’s Day as a grandmother, more importantly, it’s our daughter’s first Mother’s Day as a mom to her own beautiful daughter.

For our daughter and son-in/law, and our whole family, this year has been one of many “firsts”, amazing days in which our granddaughter has passed those many special milestones as an infant. Her first bath, her first smile, her first tooth, her first trip to the zoo and the beach….

But more so, our daughter has grown from being a college student, to a wife, and to being a mother. And watching that transformation take place has been something totally amazing. We always knew she’d be a great mom, but as I watch her with her daughter, I’m just amazed, and very proud, on a daily basis.

Motherhood seems as natural to her as breathing. Her world has suddenly changed. Although her husband is the love of her life, her daughter is now the most important person in her world, her life, her greatest treasure.

As it should be. She now knows what it’s like to be willing to give up everything if her child needs something. That’s how a mom should be with her children, and that’s the mother our daughter has become.

To say we are proud of her is an understatement; there are no words to describe how we feel. She and her husband have become the parents we always knew they’d be. Their daughter is their world. A smile on that little one’s face can make a dreary and miserable day turn into a ray of sunshine that lights up their entire house.

Last year’s Mother’s Day was a miserable one for our daughter. She was just about at the end of a terrible pregnancy in which she’d endured overnight hospital stays, dehydration, daily nausea and vomiting, severe back and hip pains, and mostly sleepless nights. She couldn’t even eat her Mother’s Day brunch, and as her mother, I felt totally helpless because I couldn’t do anything to make her feel better. In fact, that’s how I’d felt almost during her entire pregnancy, because I couldn’t do anything for her. That’s part of being a mother to a mother-to-be. I kept telling her it would all be worth it, but it was hard for her to believe it at the time.

But she sure does now. As sick as she was the entire nine months, every time she looks at her beautiful daughter, holds her in her arms, and sees her laugh and smile, she knows it was all worth it.

And for me, well, personally, I must say the best Mother’s Day gift of all is watching my daughter being a mother to her daughter. For me, being a mother to the mother of our grandchild is the only gift I need. I don’t need a bouquet of flowers; my flowers are the pictures we receive each day of our beautiful granddaughter. I don’t need jewelry; our daughter and granddaughter are the sparkling jewels of my life.

Happy first Mother’s Day, Ashley Treasure the memories. I’m so very proud of the woman – and mother – you’ve become. Your grandmother would be so overjoyed, and I have a feeling that every so often the Lord gives her a glimpse of you and baby Rachel. And I can only imagine how happy that makes her!

I love you all so much! And one day you will know the feelings I’m having when your own daughter becomes a mother.