Twice now I am an almost Grandma. And some days it is bittersweet.
For those of you who don't know, my youngest son had a baby boy just over a year and a half ago and gave him up for adoption to a beautiful couple who do not live far from us and who are gracious enough to let us be a part of his life. I hesitate to say out loud that I am his "Grandma" because he has two others of his own and I would never want to take away from that. It doesn't stop me however from loving him just as much as his own Grandma's do. I might not get to celebrate the big moments of his life and spend holidays with him (like they do) but he is never far from my heart or my thoughts.
Most days I am content to sit on the sidelines sending my love and celebrating each milestone he achieves while appreciating how lucky I am that he is in my life at all. It is kind of ironic that one of my number one expressions of gratitude is that he is a part of my life ---and yet that seems to also be the number one thing that people feel the need to remind me of how lucky I am to have. (I know they mean well but it also makes me wonder if they think I am unable to recognize and appreciate that on my own). I do admit there are days when I shed tears of regret-- that the situation isn't different, that I am not a full -fledged Grandma, but mostly I just appreciate.
I biologically have two sons, and yet I also have an "almost" daughter. Most people assume almost daughter means that she is connected to one of my sons, as in daughter in law, but in this case she is not. She is my daughter, well at least she is a daughter in my heart. If she didn't already have a biological mother and an adopted mother, I would love to take on the full fledged mother role for her. But since she is already well covered in the mother department, I am often referred to as the "other mother". And technically the "other mother" has no real rights or significance. I just love her and support her as best I can while honoring that she will forever have her own "real" mothers.
When your "almost daughter" has a baby girl-- you become an "almost Grandma" or the "other Grandma". My almost daughter had a beautiful baby girl about three weeks ago. They currently live in our house until they can swing their own place. Happily I get to be "Grandma TT" for the time they live with me, even longer if I am allowed. And yes, in case you were going to remind me, I AM very thankful for the time I have with them.
Since I once again am not a "real" Grandma, I continue to tread lightly so as to not step on the real Grandma's toes. (Knowing that you could lose your tentative place at any moment forces you to learn to appreciate every single precious second.)
Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be fully and rightfully a legit Grandma who can be loud and proud and not have to worry about doing something wrong and losing my tentative place. I hope so. I'd like to think I have learned a lot of valuable life lessons in the last few years about unconditional love and that my presence will be a loving one in the lives of all of my "almosts."
For now I am thankful to have the opportunity to love on beautiful babies who I feel connected to and who I love as much as one heart can.
As this Mother's Day approaches it makes me appreciate (even more) my own mother and all the "other mothers" who have influenced my life so far. And it encourages me to send some serious gratitude to those "other mothers and grandmothers" I see stepping up to share their love, support and guidance with their "almosts" --simply because their hearts know no other way.
Unconditional love is awesome. I am convinced it has the power to change the world.