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They were right, all those mothers of children, who have children, when they said, being a grandmother is different. That's why this Mother's Day has taken on a deeper and more expanded meaning. I am a grandmother.
Since the first time I held our new little grand-girl in my arms a connection sparked which simply seared my soul. At first I found it hard to explain why the depth of feeling was so immeasurable. She was just a baby, someone else's baby at that, with a wobbly head and an early personality consisting only of the basics: eat, sleep and poop. But my feelings were different, very different. That her mother was my baby may have stretched the bond, but it is no less strong, and is in fact unbreakable.
I thought this special connection was because I don't have to deal with the day to day new-mom-dilemma of feeding schedules, diapers and sleeplessness; I can simply love her and hand her back. But it's more than that.
As a young mother I got caught up in the enormity of the task which required that I raise my children to be loving and capable human beings and good citizens of the world. My interactions with my daughters always seemed to have a learning agenda or one of consequences and boundaries. Sometimes it was all love, and silliness, and fun, and sometimes there were moments, many times actually, which grayed my hair and overfilled my cup. I can honestly say that on the face of this earth, there are no two children who were more wanted. But what I felt for them is not the same as what I feel for my granddaughter. One love is not greater than the other, they are just profoundly different.
I take care of my granddaughter one day a week. I would love to spend more time with her but I work a full time job. And maybe that's it; my time with her is want-to, not have-to time. Just past three months old, when she looks into my eyes, I know, she - sees - me. When she smiles in response to my smile, or my voice, there is no greater pleasure. I am a voracious word-saver of all things emotional and yet I do not remember acknowledging the eye to eye, heart to heart, connection when my kids were little. Bench marks, like the first solid food, words, haircuts and steps were written in their books. I'm thinking that because I am older, and wiser, and see our relationship as shorter, than what fits in a whole lifetime, maybe that's why my moments with her are so deeply felt.
She is an angel, this little one who has stolen my heart. She is the new baby fragrance of hope. On a planet so crowded with calamity and fear, to see this little one approach it with such curiosity gives me faith that our world will be a better place because she is in it. New babies do that, they give us another chance to get it right.
Her parents are good people, who come from a long line of good people. The tasks of life ahead for her will be great and yet, those eyes looking toward the future and that tiny little heart will, with each wink and beat, change the world. After all, at not yet four months old and she has already changed ours.
As mothers, my daughter and I can share the sentiments of her first Mother's Day; I get to chant the grandmother's mantra, "paybacks." And, about those paybacks, enough said.
CAROLYNN CHANGES DIAPERS ON WEDNESDAYS; YOU CAN REACH HER AT CP.ENOUGHSAID@AOL.COM.