Thursday, January 19, 2012
It was a glorious spring day. My daughter and I returned home from the Baccalaureate service. The next week my only daughter, my first-born, would graduate from high school. We spent lots of time together, making plans for the next few years of her life. She wanted to be a designer and we found a program in Italy that suited her needs. I was thrilled for her....the experiences and adventures ahead of her, the excitement of being young, with the rest of her life before her.
We sat in the living room on that glorious spring day.
"Mama," she said, "I have something to tell you."
"OK. What is it?"
I cracked up. What a great joke!
"Honey, that's hilarious!"
"No, Mama, really. I'm pregnant."
By now, I was howling. How funny -- and what great timing! I was certain my daughter would soon be a rising star in stand-up comedy.
Why wasn't she laughing?
"You're kidding, right?" I asked.
"No. I'm really pregnant."
"What!?" I wasn't laughing anymore. In fact, I cried for the next week, almost non-stop. All I could think was that her life was over. She'd never go to Italy...never become a designer (and apparently, she wouldn't be a stand-up comedienne either). My hopes and dreams flew out the window.
She told me, up front, that abortion was out. Whew! I asked her to go to Edna Gladney, a local adoption agency (http://adoptionsbygladney.com/) to talk to a counselor. Just to check it out as an option. We looked through several scrapbooks that prospective parents put together, extolling their virtues and the wonderful life they had to offer a child. She listened, as I had asked her to, but was determined to keep the baby.
I admit, adoption wasn't necessarily what I wanted for her, but it seemed the best option. I wanted her to have a life, to travel, receive an education, fall in love, have a big wedding and THEN have children.
MY plan. Apparently God had something else in mind.
I had to surrender MY plan MY hopes and MY dreams for her. And I had to grieve it all.
Her pregnancy progressed normally and we made plans. I told her we could raise the baby together. We bought new furniture for her and the baby, and set it up in her bedroom. Eventually, the baby's father, back in her life for the moment, moved in as well (not my favorite guy). I tried to do what was best for all of us.
I had grown used to the idea of being a grandmother -- sort of -- but I wasn't even 50 yet! So to commemorate the occasion (becoming a grandmother before turning 50) I got my first tattoo. It is a Phoenix surrounded by flames. Seemed apropos.....
Then, on January 23, 2006, a wonderful baby boy came into the world. And I fell in love. His official title (regardless of the entry on the birth certificate) was (and remains to this day) "The Most Precious Child That Ever Lived" (TMPCTEL)...an accurate label, I assure you.
My daughter and TMPCTEL lived with me for the better part of eighteen months. I had the "Nana Magic" he needed to calm down and fall asleep. We would rock together. I sang; he looked cute. I helped with bathing, feeding, dressing....and loved every minute of it.
For now, TMPCTEL is my only grandchild. We are taking him to the midway and rodeo this weekend to celebrate his birthday. I'm so proud of my daughter and her courageous choice. It hasn't always been easy for her, but she is a fabulous mother (and realtor!), happily married, and her husband is the best dad TMPCTEL could hope for. He is an active child, sometimes challenging, but he is his own little man. He has a swagger that would put John Wayne to shame, and mischievous blue eyes that belie his age. I admit, I am completely smitten.
A friend, about to become a grandmother for the first time, asked for some advice, although none is necessary. One look, Nana-to-be, and, I promise, you'll fall in love. After that, you'll bend over backwards to do anything to make that child happy, have lots of fun playing (like you haven't done in years), spoil him/her beyond recognition, and then hand said child back over to the parents. Who could ask for more?
Have you ever had to let go of "old" ideas or grieve your fantasies? Have your plans, hopes or dreams changed unexpectedly? How did you cope? How did the new plans work out?
Have you been there?