Joining the grandmother club

I don’t know much of anything about being a grandmother.

Oh, I’ve observed plenty of wonderful grandmas in my lifetime. I was blessed that one of my grandmas lived just a few miles away from me all the while I was growing up, and she loved me in many ways. She had a toy drawer in her kitchen. She taught me how to play cards, how to embroider, how to play the piano. And she was always glad to see me. As I read recently, “Grandma always made me feel she had been waiting to see just me all day, and now the day was complete.”

Most of all, perhaps, my grandma taught me how to carry on with grace and strength.

I didn’t know my other grandma, who lived 900 miles away and died when I was just five years old. It could be that’s why my Iowa grandma was such a strong presence in my life. Maybe she figured that out.

My own mother is a good grandma, too. She’s been at this grandma business now for nearly four decades, and yet she is always interested in her grandchildren and what they’re doing. And she is, among other traits, steady and strong, whether she realizes it or not.

I’ve watched most of my friends in their grandmother roles, and I must say they all revel in it. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of opportunities for observation, since I waited awhile to get married; so all the next stages were delayed, too. In fact, at my last class reunion one of my classmates related that she would soon have her fourth great-grandchild. And I was, not even a grandmother yet!

Well, all that changed when my very first grandchild who was born two weeks ago. I am a new member of the grandmother club! Since this tiny girl lives out of state and I haven’t even met her yet, it somehow doesn’t seem quite real, but I have full reports and many photos to assure me that this little eight-pound sweetie truly has joined our family.

I don’t know how one prepares to be a grandmother. Is it by observing? Or reading? Or praying, maybe? Well, I’ve done all three. Maybe one gets to be a grandma when you finally get your hands on this sweet little thing who is, after all, flesh of your flesh. I have a hunch that once I see my son delighting in and caring for his little girl, when I see that he and his wife are truly a family, then I will know I am a grandmother.

I believe I have already fallen in love with my granddaughter. Come to think of it, that must be how one knows she is a grandmother: when you love this tiny human being before you have even really had a chance to get acquainted.