I remember having our first baby ~ way back in 1987 ~ Eldest was born in Toronto at a hospital. Somehow I avoided many interventions, and after five days we returned home, and I learned about being a parent and mother and I learned how powerful and primal it all is.
Becoming a parent lifted me out of the dysfunction I had lived with growing up. It was my turning point, and I ran with it, finding my Own Way, making different choices than my sisters had made, than my mother had made. Very different from my in-laws, causing much concern and friction over the years with sister-in-laws.
It sounds trivial when I write that becoming a mother changed my life. I would not say this when in the company of my friends who do not have children, but it is my truth. Becoming a parent made me look long and hard at my own childhood. It made me reject what had been wrong, and embrace those [few] happy, safe memories...
It became my goal as a young mother that my children would have a safe home. A home where they didn't have to feel nervous. They didn't have to feel shame. They could come home after school, after a bad day, and know that home was home. It was warm, it was mellow, the adults were adults and the adults looked after the children.
I changed my past.
I have been thinking deeply about my role as a grand-parent, as the birth looms [today we are thinking!]. I see how my sister Kathy became a super-grandparent. She and her husband re-defined themselves as grand-parents. It annoys me that they have been absorbed into the family units of their children. I have to take a breath - and let it out.
I am terrified that I will become that grand-mother. That I will lose myself in the children of my children.
And then I breathe in again, and out... And I know that I will be myself. I will be there for them, and I will also be here for myself. This is the truth. I will Dance the Dance of Grand-mother.
I just have to learn it.