Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On becoming a Grandma...

My Daughter and her baby bump

When I found out that my daughter thought she was pregnant so many things raced through my mind. I couldn’t help it, it is sad that the father will not be participating, it is terrible that she is only 18, it is unfortunate that she doesn’t have a job or a way to support herself or the baby. Others in our family told her to end the pregnancy, I kept quiet, believing that she could make the choice that was right for her. A baby would be hard work, I know this personally. I was pregnant with her when I was 18. It was hard, her father did not participate in her life, I struggled to support us; but I did. I waitressed and was on Welfare, but I educated myself. Yes, I needed a little help, but the pay off to society is worth so much more than what it cost. Knowing all of this I still felt Joy, how can you not when it involves a baby. I kept it all to myself until she made her decision to keep the baby.

You see, much of the negative feelings I was having was about me, about my experience as a single mother. There is a lot of fear, a lot of social stigma, and a lot of loss when you have a child so young. I thought that I had raised her to make better choices, but as the parent of two teens you begin to realize that they are going to make their own choices. I preached for her to abstain, and if she didn’t abstain, to use protection. She was actually a very good child; she made good decisions and stood out from peer pressure. She had to deal with some really hard tragedies, including the loss of her father to suicide. It was only in her last years at home that she rebelled. She rebelled against herself and against me. It was a struggle, I was constantly asking myself what did I do wrong, and she was constantly telling me what I did wrong. Despite all the things I did to try to sway her she had chosen a long hard road to go down and getting pregnant allowed her to make a U turn and choose a better path.

Being a good parent doesn’t always mean that your kids go off to college and find a spouse and a good job, these days it can mean that you all made it out alive. There are so many factors in a child’s life that affect their choices. The older they get the more influences these outside factors play. Teachers, peers, family, and strangers all can affect your children. I had to let go of the idea that her going to college out of high school was not going to happen. She might not get to be a “bent twig” at Mills College, she wouldn’t travel around Europe, but she would be alive and safe. Mostly I had to let go of the fact that even though things did not turn out the way I dreamed they would they did turn out good. I am still a good mom, I have judged others by their children, but what do I know about their life, their choices, or their experiences. I now know that when they become adults they make their own choices. A parent can only hope that their influence will win out in the end.

I am very proud of my daughter. She has come through a lot of things and is still doing so much good for herself. I feel she has grown into an amazing and powerful woman. She has created a place for herself and her coming daughter that is safe and secure. She is thinking about stability, parenting, and her career. She has also joined some groups where she has met some great friends who are also young parents. She has created a community of good people for herself and her baby, and created some lifelong friendships, the kind you might find in college. Personally I think she has not only risen to the challenge but has exceeded expectations. She is starting off with many more parenting skills than I did, that’s for sure.

When I tell others about being a grandma in my 30’s they often freak. I freaked out too. All my friends my age have infants and toddlers of their own and here I am about to be a grandma. Then I was at the dog park and made friends with some women, they were about 15 to 20 years older than me and one of them told us she was going to be a grandma. She did not want the title; she said she wasn’t ready for it. They clearly didn’t know what to say when I told them I was going to be a grandma too. I didn’t really know what to say either; we sort of just changed the subject.

When my daughter and I were in the store, setting up her registry, my daughter kept showing me little shirts, and outfits printed with, “Grandma loves me,” or “I’m grandma’s favorite.” I was thinking, “Oh those are so cute, Grandma would love them,” then it hit me! “I am Grandma, that’s for me!!” My daughter laughed so hard, and then asked me whom I thought it was for. Well I guess I will have to get used to the title, but I know when I see that baby I will feel so blessed and in love.

This is not a tragedy; this is not terrible; this is a miracle and a blessing for my family. My mom used to tell me “have your kids while your young and dumb.” If you wait for the right moment you will never have kids because no one is ready to be a parent. It really is a blessing to have children.

Many Blessings
Wittle Baby Foots!!

Evelyn Rose 10/27/12

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