Grandma envy: Haugh About That?

Coming home from another baby shower, I threw my purse across the room, clenched my fingers into a fist, and screamed, “If I hear one more time how wonderful being a grandparent is, I think I’ll kill myself! No, better yet, I’ll kill that nauseating grandmother. It can’t be that good!”

Pouring myself a glass of wine to calm my annoyance from all the ooey-gooey gurgling about how cute, funny, precious and sweet they are, as if grandchildren were the be-all and end-all (and without them you’re nothing), I plopped down on the couch, prepared to have a surly pity party. But as I took the first sip, I instantly fell into tears.

“OK, so maybe it is the best thing ever,” I whimpered. “I’m sure that watching your kids with children of their own is truly magical.”

Being the incarnation of Mother Earth herself, whose sole purpose has been raising young hearts, I knew I was missing out. But what’s a mother to do? Life is about timing, and it wasn’t ours or, should I say, theirs. I had to be patient and wait my turn.

We’ve all heard about the joys of being a grandparent. You get to experience love beyond measure as you shower the little nuggets with undivided attention. You spoil them, play with them, fill them with lots of sugar and let them stay up way past their bedtime because you’re all having too much fun. But once they get cranky and unruly, you give them back to their parents. It’s all the fun without the responsibility.

Getting off the couch, I decided to take a walk down memory lane. Looking at the photographs that line every wall in my home, I was reminded of the time when my four were little; we were strangers on a journey to becoming a family. In the early years, I was the parent. I was in charge. I taught them right from wrong, instilled morals and values, and set them on the path to living their lives. In our later years, they began to parent me, holding my hand when I felt weak as life at times became unbearable. From the moment they were born and through it all, they’ve been my anchors, my reason for living.

Taking my finger, I began outlining their toothless grins, and my heart grew swollen with love.

“I won’t deny I’d love to have a grandchild,” I said to the shining faces, imagining what it must be like to see your child’s likeness carried on in another. “But God has other plans for me right now, and I have to accept that.”

Going back to my wine, I found myself happy for my friends and their station in life. What a joy it must be, and who am I to begrudge their enthusiasm? One day, I’m sure I’ll be the same. But, in the meantime, rather than let the green-eyed monster get the best of me again, I made a plan.

Until I have grandchildren of my own, I’ll just borrow everyone else’s! I don’t have to wait to become a grandmother to open up my heart to a little one. After all, love is love, no matter who gives it, and I’m really good at spoiling little munchkins.

I admit that having a grandchild one day will be the cherry on top of my life’s giant banana split. But if one never comes, I’ll be just fine. I want my kids to have children for them, not me. I don’t need a do-over. I had perfection the first time.

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