About a month ago, in the midst of all the ugliness and craziness of the world, my beautiful oldest daughter gave birth to a beautiful daughter of her own, and suddenly I have found new joy and new abounding appreciation for this gift we call motherhood.
We hear it all the time—that grandchildren are even better than children—but I still wasn’t really sure what to expect, or how it would really feel, but then I held my sweet grandbaby for the first time and it was unabashed, indescribable joy and wonder. It was as if I had made her in some way, as if she was a part of me, but my body was still recognizable. It wasn’t broken and bleeding; I wasn’t so tired that I failed to know what day it was; my breasts weren’t engorged and throbbing in excruciating pain, and I didn’t feel all the weight of her future held in my arms and staring me in the face. I just got to hold her—to take in the utter miracle of her life, of every perfect finger and toe, and just be her grandmother. Every day since has been the same, and the joy and love just continue to multiply. Every time she smiles when she sees me, every time I am the only one who can get her to stop crying, every time she falls asleep in my arms, I just get to love her and be in her life, and it is all gift. It is all a beautiful blessing, a magical repercussion, brought about by the years of love and sacrifice we gave for her mother.
Suddenly, I look in the mirror at the multiplying lines on my aging face, and I think, “Totally worth it to be a Yia Yia.” Granted, I still have six children at home, and my job as mom will never be over, thank goodness, but the fact that our love multiplies, and that love creates new love, which creates new life, is just another reminder of God’s unending generosity towards us.
This is a time of year that can be wrought with loss for mothers. We watch our babies go off to kindergarten, and we watch our oldest go off to college. We are always preparing them to leave us, to need us less, to learn to live without us, and it always hurts. Of course, we want it, but it still hurts. It seems crazy to me that this time last year I was tearing up (or just full-on ugly crying) about our little girl getting married. And then, as if in a moment, she is here every day with her baby in tow, and she needs me in new ways, and our relationship changes yet again. Another new season.
Seasons. That is the only way to survive motherhood—to think of it in seasons. You dear young mothers in the trenches, soaked in breast milk and sleep-deprived, this season will pass. To the constant-carpoolers, referees, and homework monitors, this season will also dwindle. And to the moms saying goodbye and decorating college dorms, they will come home again. And if we’re lucky, these people we have given our lives for will each give us seven or eight beautiful grandchildren that we can hold, and spoil, and love . . . and hand back at the end of the day.