Dear Grandmas Everywhere...This One's for You

Monday, June 10, 2024
Dear Grandmas Everywhere,
I just wanted to say that I finally understand. Now that my little boy is growing into a teenager/man, I finally think I get where you are all coming from. Now I know why you cry when you see babies. I understand why you want to hold them and kiss them and smell their little baby heads. I understand why you sometimes wander up to stranger's babies and ask to touch their silky soft hair or coo at their pudgy cheeks. I finally understand...

...Fifteen years goes by in the blink of an eye. One minute I was holding my little boy and listening to his little voice call my name, and the next he is pushing me away and asking for space. And I get it, I totally do. That's how life goes, right? But at the same time, I miss my baby boy with reckless abandon. I miss that sweet kiddo who wanted to go on adventures with me, who loved laughing and being silly. He liked being tickled and hugging his 'stuffies,' and watching Teen Titans Go with me. I feel like I never got to say goodbye to that little boy. One day he just woke up and he was someone else- an older, more serious version of himself, without the pudgy baby cheeks and baby scented hair. He doesn't need my help or my hugs anymore (well, sometimes he still needs those hugs, thank goodness), and my affection in public somehow embarrasses him. I know -I know- this is life, this is what is supposed to happen. I look in the mirror at the older woman looking back at me, and I say out loud, "what is WRONG with you? This is parenthood! This is what being a mom is all about! Let him go now. You did your job. This is the way it happens, so on he goes." Is it easier for other moms? Am I just feeling more feels? I have trouble letting go of things (just read my post about my 80's hoarding and you'll see), so clearly this would not be an exception in my case. 

People tell me, 'you'll get that baby love back again someday when you become a grandma!" Great, so (maybe) in another twenty years (if I'm lucky), this "sad mom" feeling will go away? Let me start getting ready now.

I think no one put the feelings into words better than Amanda Keller (from Amanda & Jonesy) discussing an article written by Mia Freedman of Mamamia. You can watch the video transcript of it below. Prepare to feel validated (but grab some tissues!).


The part that hit me the most was when she said: " don’t actually parent one person, you parent many, many different people who are all your child. There’s the newborn, the baby, the toddler, the preschooler, the primary aged kid, the pre-teen, the adolescent, the full-blown teen, the young adult and then the adult. They all answer to the same name. They all call you Mom. And you never ever notice the inflection point where one of those people turns into the next. You never get to properly say goodbye to all the little people who grow up because you don’t notice the growing, the changing. Except when Facebook sends you those bloody memory reminders that invariably make me cry because it’s like showing me the face of someone I can never see again. Not in that way. Not at that age."

Mia Freedman also goes on to say that the feeling even brings guilt because it's 'soft grief,' not the hard, gut-wrenching grief of losing a child to illness or death (meaning, then you feel guilty for grieving a loss that isn't really a true loss). Such a complicated mix of emotions.

But here's the thing. YES I miss my little boy and YES those days were the best days everrrrrrr. But at the same time I am so proud of who my son has become and all he has accomplished. I would never want to make him feel less than amazing for who he is. I mean, how would you feel if someone was constantly telling you that they missed the 'old you???' So I bite my tongue. And, like all of the grandmas we have ever known, I learn to stand at the sidelines and smile and wave, because that's what grandmas do. But I feel you, grandmas and moms of adult children everywhere- because truth be told, I know there's a small part of you that's dying inside as that little boy sails away. I get it now. But I'm okay with that, and I will step up to the sidelines and take my place beside you all. In fact, let's hold hands as we watch our children go. 

1 comment

  1. I love this! It really hit home. Thanks for writing this! Beautiful!


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