I began this blog over a year ago, wondering what it would be like to be a grandparent, worried that I might not be all I should be, and hoping that I would embrace the role and my grandchild would embrace me. For 51 weeks, Winnie has loved, educated, and embraced me as her grandmother, changing my life as her mother did years ago, and the experience has been . . .magnificent.
Winona has enriched my world by causing me to study it closely as she delves right in, head first, mouth first, fingers first. She is enchanting and delightful and outrageous and loving. She has the curiosity of a scientist, the expressions of a mime, and the bravery of an astronaut. She is precious to me.
A friend of mine is a great-grandmother, and has been for twelve years. She is my “go-to” grandmother, as her kindness, optimism, and patience is legendary and as strong as ever as she reaches her 90th year. I always learn from our conversations and realize why she says that her relationships with her grandchildren are her most precious. According to Ruth, “there is no greater thrill than to be a grandmother for the first time.” A few weeks ago, as she awaited the arrival of her great-grandson from California, she said she was counting the minutes. The thrill of being a great-grandparent is something she can discuss eloquently, but what I most needed to hear was something she told me last week. “It is not easy for me to watch my daughter do so many things at once. First I am a mother.”
This brings my role as mother/grandmother to where my discussion began thirteen moths ago. Ruth said what I have been thinking for all this time. First I am a mother. But what I realize, thanks to Winnie, is that that is exactly what helps me have the relationship I have with both my daughter and granddaughter. The love I need for this is there. I needn’t have worried.
Ruth knows this. “I don’t worry,” she says. “I pray a lot.”
It has been a year of tremendous love and learning. And as Winnie blows out the candles on her first birthday cake, a banana-blueberry sugarless creation with cream cheese frosting, I will learn that cake without sugar is delicious if you are sharing it with a grandchild.