That venerable club, the grandmother club, has found its way to me, and I have been duly initiated. I got it right away – what people have been telling me is true – this is a different kind of relationship and a special kind of love.
On the day my granddaughter was born, we (parents and grandparents) showed up at the hospital at 5:00 AM for her arrival. We grandparents waited anxiously for the baby to come into the world. Finally we saw the curtains part on the newborn nursery and on the other side of the glass my son walked across the room holding his brand-new daughter, beaming with pride. I couldn’t take pictures for ohhhhhhhing and crying for joy.
We greeted the new parents in the hospital room and were thrilled when the baby was brought into the room in her bassinet. We took cameras full of pictures, held the baby, phoned and texted to family and friends, and fell in love. At 6:00 PM or so, I was tired and wanted to go celebrate with a glass of wine and friends. Knowing that everyone was safe, loved, and well cared for, I felt no qualms about doing just that. I was not on duty!
My granddaughter, Audrey Elizabeth, is turning one now. We love each other, I can tell, even though one of us can’t talk. As a future-oriented person and as a counselor, in tune with human growth and development as well as the power of influence in one’s life, I am reflecting on what she might learn from me across the years to come. I plan to do all that I can to be present in her life so that she knows me and I, her. Though we are all examples for one another, there is power in naming our intention and in the expectation that this will come to be.
I know we learn 2 things from people: how we want to be and how we don’t want to be. I hope that what Audrey learns from knowing me will fall mostly in the first category! Let it be said that I am very aware and grateful that I am not the only adult in her life that she will learn from! Primarily she will learn from her parents, who are doing an excellent job caring for and nurturing her. Her other grandparents and family members are also loving presences in her life. I only hope to be an adjunct influencer. If it is true that it takes a village to raise a child, and I suspect it is, Audrey’s village is definitely showing up!
Little girls look primarily to the women in their life, and little boys to the men, as role models. What I have to offer Audrey is an authentic, heartfelt desire to be a positive feminine example, not a selfish desire to be admired. Ultimately of course she will decide and find her own path.
Even at this young age, Audrey is in the process of storing impressions that will formulate her core beliefs that will shape her life. She is forming impressions of herself, others, and how the world works, or life itself. These impressions and lessons will continue throughout her life. Optimally she will learn that she is valuable and supported, that (most) others are kind, and that life is good, if not always fair.