She comes around the corner of the kitchen, her belly preceding her by a scant second and quickening my heart. Even though I can’t possibly for a second forget that my daughter is pregnant with her first child and I see her every day, for some reason that tangible reminder first thing in the morning is a jolt, stimulating utter joy and also complete amazement at how fast the last 25 years flew by.
My hands have a mind of their own as they reach out to touch this soon-to-be-born little boy. I have to ask the same thing every morning, “How did you sleep? And how is my grandson?”
She rolls her eyes. But I know that in her heart she loves how much I love him. And her.
My love for my daughter is deepening and changing as I watch her journey through pregnancy, one of the most amazing experiences a woman ever has. It forges an entire new bond for us, this shared experience of creating and bearing and bringing forth life. Motherhood will as well, even more so.
I’m probably most excited for her first minute post-birth, because it is the most life-changing sixty seconds she will ever experience. I can’t wait to watch her reach for her baby boy, hold him close to her heart, and see her transform right before my eyes.
There are a million things a mom loves to tell her daughter when she becomes a mom, all the tips and how-to’s and don’t worries. I’m trying, and will continue, to not spew all my mom/grandma ideas and advice on her. Not now, not after he is born. I want her to find her own way. Will I be here for any questions, shoulders to cry on, and arms to envelop my grandson (and her) when she’s bleary-eyed? In a heartbeat! But throughout her pregnancy, I’ve worked at training myself to listen and only advise when asked, and I’m committed (hoping, praying) to doing that after he is born.
That’s going to be hard for me, because I’m a talker and doer and consummate researcher and reader and I always have a million ideas about everything.
But haven’t told her many things I think about. I’m saving them, for when she really wants to hear them…the times when she needs her own mother’s affirmation or praise or encouragement, or possibly even advice. They are all here, in my heart:
You’ll be the most amazing mom. You already are the most amazing mom.
Caring for a completely helpless human is both the most fun and most exhausting challenge you will ever face.
Raising your child is the most rewarding experience of life. It’s also hard and scary and mysterious, and totally worth it every day, even the hard ones.
Do not let guilt edge its way into your mom psyche. It is usually a liar. It will hurt you, and that will hurt your child.
Give yourself grace every single day. Every frustration and worry and mistake is normal, experienced by every other mom on the planet.
You will do your best and that is good enough. It’s better than good enough – you are chosen to be your son’s mom and your best will be perfect for him.
Your husband will do his best, too; let him try without too much interference.
Believe me when I tell you that if I could, I would relive every minute of my pregnancy and rearing of you. So I’m having a blast watching you take your turn!
Finally, know that no matter how much I love your son, it will never eclipse my love for you.
FOOTNOTE: My daughter and son-in-law are on staff at Mission of Hope Haiti and are staying with us while awaiting the birth of their son. They’ll return to their home and friends and jobs in Haiti when he’s two months old. Mission of Hope is an organization providing health care, food and education to thousands of Haitian children and training Haitian adults to be spiritual and economic leaders in their country. You can learn more at www.mohhaiti.org.