I read and enjoyed this quote recently:
“Being a mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my
field, since the payment is pure love.”
~Mildred B. Vermont
It’s fitting that I write about my only child’s only child on the occasion of her second birthday!
Honestly… before I became a Grandmother, I thought “What is the BIG deal?” When my friends who had become grandparents prior to me would go on… and on… and ON about their kid’s kids… again I would say “What is the BIG deal?” (if only to myself!). I now know what the big deal is. It is joy at it simplest. It is unmeasurable happiness. It is a vulnerable love that opens your heart and reminds you of the sweetest memories that are tucked way back in your mind… twenty… thirty years old or more.
When Marissa was first born I would sit and hold her, looking deep into those beautiful brown eyes. One day I just began to weep as I held her. The love overflowed and came out in the form of tears… guessing it had to go somewhere! This immense love washed over me and I felt that I truly “got it” that day.
I remember the beautiful connection I had with my Grandmama. Having lost her some 28 years ago at age 27 I should have to dig deeply to pull up the memories of my times with her… but I do not have to dig at all. They are here on the surface of my soul. I was lucky enough to spend many summers with her in her small rural town…even though we lived about 400 miles away in a big city. She taught me the lost arts of quilting, cross-stitch, and crocheting. We made clothes from the left over Pajama Factory remnants that she inherited from a close friend. She taught me to cook, bake and canning. I learned when and how to pick beans and other vegetables from their small but bountiful garden. I had cold biscuits and gravy (cold by my choice) which my Grandmama had made from scratch every morning at about 4 am prior to my Grandaddy’s departure to work as a carpenter. She let me sleep until I wanted to get up which as I recall was typically about 9 am. My memory of bedtime is amusing. Since my grandparents arose so early… they would literally “go to bed with the chickens”! So before the sunset had time to sink into the night… I was expected to be asleep. What? It’s light out…. I’m 12! Nobody I know goes to bed that early! So I chuckle as I re-live the memories of TRYING to go to sleep before 8 pm.
Grandmama Bessie –
She would say “If it don’t love… don’t make it eat it” (we -the grandchildren- were the “it” she was refering to… so spoiled WE WERE!)
The tight bond between Grandparent and Grandchild. Is it because the years of parenting make us more grateful for the little things? I know that since I have become a grandmother, a “Gigi” to be exact, I have enjoyed precious moments with my granddaughter… as if I really didn’t know how to enjoy them the first time around as a Mom. I guess God gave me a “do-over”. I think I did pretty good the first time… kind of like taking a class and getting a “C+” or maybe a “B-” the first time around… then re-taking the class like 25 years later and getting an “A+”. Funny how a little life under your belt helps your perspective. Maybe realistically I have a Degree in Mothering and a Masters in Life 101. That is the “it” that I needed to get to…
So I hope when Marissa Gray turns 25 she will be blogging (or who know WHAT they will be doing by then!) about her crazy “Gigi” who she has shared many countless wonderful fun filled days with and from whom she has learned much. I hope that I can impart some of my wisdom in her so that maybe her road to happiness will have less bumps and more downhill coasts! One Gigi can only hope.
I love you Marissa. Happy Birthday angel. And to my daughter Alissa, I love you and thank you for giving me this precious gift. Being a “Gigi” fits me JUST RIGHT!
My new friend who is a blogger, husband and 31-year-old father, T.J. Brown, has written a post recently entitled “The Sad Story of My Creation” http://thomasjohnbrown.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/the-sad-story-of-my-creation/. I was heartbroken for him as he told of his parents decision to have him and then tell him (his whole life) that he was a “mistake”! I was so appalled by this that I was compelled to comment on his post and that has resulted in the development of a sincere friendship. My respect for him is enormous as he works through the pain that this has caused him to this day. He blogs to air his feelings and “get it out”. This is a brave journey that T.J. has accepted and I am very thankful that our paths have crossed. His very supportive wife, Amber, comments on his every post and I can tell that there is much love and support for him through their relationship.
We as parents have an IMMENSE effect on our children and the kind of adults they will be! Words are weapons. Words are powerful especially being uttered by one’s own parent. The harsh words of “you were a mistake” can only serve to debilitate a child from developing in any sort of normal way! Why would a parent want that for their child? As I said in my response to him (in part): “I am so appalled that parents could describe a child’s creation as a “mistake”. Honestly adults need to own up to their actions and stop the blame game… it was not the car load of people (regardless of race) or the missed birth control which is at fault here. The truth is, it seems, that your parents chose to have “divorce sex” as you call it and created another precious human being. I believe that God allows the people that are suppose to be born to be conceived and are allowed to live. Each life has meaning and teaches us lessons as parents. Your attitude is commendable. Please keep believing that you are special and NOT a mistake. You have the touched my life with this post and that is no mistake!”
I went on to tell him about someone who I worked for many years ago. She was told by her parents that she should have been aborted! Just knowing that her parents wished that she had never been born affected her daily existence and made her a very bitter and angry individual. It seemed to me that she was always looking to hurt others the way she was hurt. I may not be a Psychologist but I am smart enough to know that what we say to our children is carried throughout our lives. Unless we go through the long and arduous process of “reprogramming those tapes” in our minds… that is what plays over and over…. and over!
My story is a different from T.J’s as daylight is from darkness! My parents were married 13 years before my birth. My oldest brother was born about 13 months into their marriage and then there were 11 years of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant with a second child. Eleven long year of being told that she was barren and may never have another due to complications that arose during the difficult birth of my brother. Imagine the happiness that they felt as they were finally able to tell their 12-year-old son that he was FINALLY going to be a big brother! That May my mother attended a local festival featuring a beautiful Queen and her court riding the “Strawberry Festival” float (a very big event in 1955!). Someone on that float had the name “Janiece”, I assumed it was the Queen but have never been able to confirm. I was told that my mother said “Oh if I have a girl I’m going to name her “Janiece”. I never met the person for whom I was named but always wondered if I could someday tell her that story. I was born about 4 months later… I was 3 weeks early and my parents had to travel from a rural Tennessee county about 90 miles away from Memphis to get to the hospital. Because of her complications she had a special doctor. They made it in time… No two parents were ever more proud to welcome their new baby girl… after over a decade of waiting.
When I was 18 months old their Christian strength was tested. I became very ill and was admitted to the hospital. The doctors told them to prepare for the worse. They said they had done all they could and that it was in the Lord’s hands. My mother used to tell me of how they kneeled at the foot of my hospital crib and prayed that God would spare my life if it was “His will”.
I was one sick little girl but the antibiotics and fluids that they administered had given me the strength to pull out of the sickness. Iwas a fighter. Never gave up. My parents, both devout Christians, dedicated my life to the Lord then and there. I have scars in my forehead and my ankle that remind me of this story. As a huge happy surprise they welcomed another addition about a year later… my little brother! I have what I like to call a “brother sandwich”! 😉
MY BROTHER SANDWICH
(Left – Johnny, my oldest brother, me and my “baby” brother David – right)
Both my parents are no longer living but I can still hear my mother’s voice as she would recount how eternally grateful they both were that the Lord had spared my life. I always felt VERY special knowing that my parents desperately wanted me and then almost lost me…and then gratefully dedicated my life. They were wonderful examples of what a parent should be. I thank God daily that I had them in my life as shinning examples. And of course I miss them both terribly… Mom for 25 years and Dad only this year gone. You can read my memorial tribute to them here: https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/its-been-25-years-today-mom-i-still-miss-you/ and https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/holding-daddys-hand-forever/.
It occurred to me that the story of my creation could not be further from that of T.J. We had very different welcoming committees. Mine was very much like a ticker tape parade and his was vastly different. Yet be both ended up blogging and sharing. We ended up having our paths cross because of these differences. We ended up as friends. Thank you T.J. for your inspiration. I wish you all the best on your journey.
Photo credit: http://iamachild.wordpress.com/category/wilbur-lawrence/