Tag Archives: becoming a grandmother

On Becoming a Grandmother

lizzie and baby
Lizzie and Aven in the hospital 
Jane
Jane

A week ago, on December 9th, my world changed.  My own first baby, Lizzie, now 27 years old, delivered her first baby into the world, and I became a grandmother, just like that. I guess it’s not really fair to describe it that way. After all, Lizzie had to go through nearly 27 hours of increasing misery to get to that point!  But in retrospect, the change certainly feels that sudden and that startling.  Aven Marie Bowman, weighing in at seven pounds, one ounce, was born at 10:02 p.m. last Tuesday, and nothing has been the same since.

I’m learning that it’s really true that when you are a grandmother, you don’t have to take on all the day-to-day worry about that baby the way you do when you become a parent.  You get to hold a baby and love the baby and even change a diaper when you feel like it, but, to quote an old joke, then you can “give the baby back” is true!  It’s harder than you think to make your mind relax into that truth.  I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have  to figure out what that baby is wearing each day, how many times she’s eating, if she’s having as many wet diapers as she should, or if her umbilical cord is falling off correctly. Old habits die hard!   But Lizzie is happy as a clam to do those jobs,  so I can relax. All I have to do is hold Aven when Lizzie hands her off to me and rub her little soft head and kiss her little neck and breath in her incredible milky smell and make little silly clucking noises.  It’s sort of like having the best baby doll I could ever imagine, one that not only opens its eyes but also sneezes and yawns in the cutest way anyone could ever imagine.

I”m also learning that I don’t need any other entertainment when Aven is around. Our daughter and her husband, Janson, are temporarily living with us while they look for their next residence, so we get to see this little creature every day and watch her changes, such as her going from being mostly a sleeping/nursing wonder to someone starting to open her eyes more and look around at the world.  And I’m grateful and privileged to be able to witness our daughter becoming a new mother.  I am awed at how patient and calm she is.  I was never that patient with my first newborn.  I was scared to death, and my anxiety came out in frustration and tears and all kinds of great behaviors. Sure, Lizzie has an advantage over most new mothers from her years of experience and knowledge gained  working in child care,  but there is something else, something bigger, going on here.  Lizzie has taken on the mantle of motherhood as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.  When she has to make a decision about something to do with the baby, she just naturally chooses what’s right for the baby, instead of what might seem better for anyone else, including herself.  And she’s putting up with the discomfort (a nice word for it) and fatigue involved in learning to breastfeed without any serious complaints.  She’s getting very little sleep because she’s waking with the baby at night, but she doesn’t whine (as her mama did).  She’s just moving along, taking care of that baby, walking the walk.

She is my hero.

And it’s also great to see Janson becoming a father.  He was great in the delivery room, exhibiting all the right support and compassion and protectiveness to his wife, just as any mother-in-law could hope.  And he’s been working right along Lizzie since then. He has a very natural-looking football hold for Aven!

I don’t mean that I’m surprised by any of this.  I just feel honored to be able to see it up close and personal!

I hope I can make just as smooth a transition into grandmotherhood! One hard part is turning off my advice-giver!  It’s hard not to feel like I have a duty to step in and guide my daughter and son-in-law  each step of the way.  It’s hard to stop being a mother and become a grandmother.  Grandfather Tom, who is by nature extremely protective of newborns, is also having difficulty with that one!  We both want to give Lizzie and Janson several “helpful” hints on an hourly basis!  It’s good to remind ourselves that Aven is not our baby.  She’s our grandbaby!  Hallelujah! We can relax!

And here’s the other, unexpected hard part about becoming a grandmother:  now I have another generation to worry about getting grown safely, without bad things happening to them.  Aven has made it even more painful to think about things like global warming or the  terrorism or wars or plagues.  And when the global stuff is not in my head, I’m obsessing about things like her breathing or her future happiness or, worst of all, how old I will be when Aven is 20, 30, etc.  It’s that etcetera part that does me in.  It’s weird:  in some ways, the thought of my own, inevitable death has become a lot easier to bear with Aven in the world, but in other ways, it is now ten times harder.

Enough gloom and down!  Right now I’m celebrating Aven and her wonderful little head and precious feet and long, beautiful fingers and lovely eyelashes.  And she has already taught me something:  boy, am I ready to make the shift from mother into grandmother! I’m so glad someone else is having to nurse that baby, change that diaper, put that car seat in the car for the millionth time.  There’s a reason people have babies when they’re young.  I’m glad to pass the torch.  And, at least in this first iteration, some things have already made this life-changing transition seem natural and easy: 1) It’s clear that  Lizzie and Janson will be–are!–great parents and  2)  I already love Aven.  In fact, I fell madly in love with her at first sight, the moment she came into the world.  So now, Tom and I need to sit back, be incredibly thankful and grateful,  and enjoy the ride.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is another picture of the world’s cutest baby, this one napping with her over-the-moon grandmama!  Merry, merry Christmas to all of you!!!

grandma and baby

On My Daughter’s Rapidly Advancing Pregnancy

Jane
Jane

I remember, back when I was pregnant with Lizzie, that I was talking to my mother about some of the stuff my doctor had told me, and her response was, “I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about all that when I was pregnant!”  I wish I could call my mother up now and say, “Mama, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” Women nowadays sure do have a lot more to worry about than when I was pregnant ‘back in the day.’

Here are some examples:

1) My daughter has so many more eating restrictions than we had; for instance, no soft cheeses, so no Feta, Brie, Roquefort, etc.; no luncheon meat; and, of course, very limited tuna! (I’m glad to see that last one on the list!)

2) At least one hour a day, when the baby is active, Lizzie is supposed to count kicks and other movements—and if she can’t count up to ten, she’s supposed to call her doctor.

3) When her “fundal height” was not exactly what it was supposed to be, she had to have an ultrasound (this, mind you, is the fourth time she’s had an ultrasound in this pregnancy!)

4) She’s not supposed to sleep on her back at all because it might restrict the baby’s breathing.

Lizzie, 7.5 months
Lizzie, 7.5 months

Those are just four of the ones that come to mind.  I appreciate all the advances in research that have made these things necessary, and I love to know that Lizzie’s doctor is watching out for my grandbaby, but I also think there is a lot to be said for less worry on the mother’s part! Lizzie’s pregnancy is much more stressful to me than any of my own.  After talking to other grandmothers, I know that this partly comes with the territory:  you are going to worry more about your own baby (and her baby) than you ever did about yourself.  But I also think the culture of pregnancy has changed.  Isn’t there something to be said for trusting in nature, for knowing that women have been going through this same process since Eve, and that, with of course some exceptions, things usually turned out all right?  I can’t see Eve sitting there and counting kicks!  I also can’t help questioning one more expensive medical test/procedure and wondering if they would be calling for that test if my daughter didn’t have insurance.

Continue reading On My Daughter’s Rapidly Advancing Pregnancy

On Becoming a Grandmother-to-Be!

Jane Okay:  we’ve seen the ultrasound pictures.  It’s official:  my daughter is pregnant.  My first-born baby girl, who cannot possibly be old enough to be a mother, is going to have a baby sometime in early December.  Hello, Jane, this is real life!  Take it in:  Lizzie is actually a grown woman, married to a very sweet grown man, and now she is going to have a real baby.  As you can see, I’m having trouble believing this.  But don’t get me wrong:  all this difficulty getting my brain to believe the news does not mean I’m not excited.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.  I may have moments of worrying about her nutrition or her labor or her financial state (because babies turn into expensive little beings), but the overwhelming emotion in my heart and soul is complete and total excitement because, here’s the real important news:  I’m going to be a grandmother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (It’s all about me!)  

Come December, there is going to be a little baby in our family, and that wonderful thought blocks out all my worries about anything (I know:  this kind of thinking has gotten me in trouble in the past!).  Best of all, this baby is one I won’t have to stress over so much (the way I obsessively did with our 4) because I won’t be responsible in a sleepless night kind of way for this baby’s reading ability or spirituality or even its dental health!  My only job will be to love it and love it and love it some more!  How amazing and wonderful is that?

Enough said for now. I’ll just share a picture of my girl when she herself was a baby, a mere 26 years ago, so you can share my amazement about this event.  Stay tuned!  I have a feeling I’m going to be blogging about this event a lot!

Lizzie with our beloved Rufus
Lizzie with our beloved Rufus, 1987

P.S.  Tom says I never mention him in the blog, so I will report this:  Gramps is pretty excited himself!!!!!  And, by the way, that’s Tom on the floor in the picture, showing the effects of sleepless nights with Lizzie, the miraculous baby who never slept.  (I wonder what her baby will be like!  Is she in for some karma?  Mean , mean grandmother!!).

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