The moment I met each of my own daughters, I was swept away with the wave of love that came wrapped up with them. It was like a tsunami that with my first, was so unexpected I nearly went into emotional shock. I expected it with my second and was not disappointed. Instant, overwhelming love.
However, actually raising a child isn’t all joy. Any parent will tell you that at times, the desire to get away from one’s own children is almost as strong as the love they engender. I had too many days of exhaustion, frustration, worry, and impatience to count.
I know I am not the first grandparent to be astonished by this one: having grandchildren brings floods of joy and love that you feel guilty about not having had in terms of their parents, your own children. It’s a fact. Grandchildren are even better than one’s own children. Ask any grandma, and she will confirm!
The first time I was referred to as “Bee” by little Charlie, I was so thrilled that he knew me as a separate person in his life, important enough to name, my heart nearly burst. When he got older and added “Grandma” in front of the “Bee,” it was as if I had been given some sort of very special commendation. I never once questioned or cared where the “Bee” came from; I just loved my new name. Hearing a small piping voice call out “Grandma Bee? Where are you?” was music. Sheer music.
We are going to New York in a couple of weeks to spend time with little Charlie and his adorable baby sister Birdie. We will be the babysitters as their parents conduct business there for a week. There will be an apartment, picnics on the floor, hilarious bath times, maybe a tantrum or two, but certainly more joy than I can even imagine. We will be worn out, I am sure. But the fact that my husband will be the person to take little Charlie on his first excursion to see the Empire State Building? Priceless (also, thank God I won’t be included in that one–fear of heights–whew). Central Park. New York pizza. Hot dog vendors. Strolling around Gramercy Park with the two of them. Watching Frozen at bedtime on the iPad for the thousandth time. These will be the things I am sure I will revisit and relive as I am on my deathbed, thankful for my life with my own children and so grateful for the children who called me “Grandma Bee.”
I am taking my knee brace, ibuprofen, a handmade doll I ordered from Etsy, the Berenstain Bear books, a scary Transformer or two, fruity Tic Tacs, and probably, if I can fit it in my suitcase, the heating pad.
It will be an epic trip.