For the next few weeks, I’ll be hanging out with my youngest daughter as she awaits the birth of her first child. She’s not alone in this endeavor; many who love her are anxious for this little chap’s arrival. In the meantime, I finished my abuela quilt, and have found it to be perfectly snugly. Those extra rows of quilting didn’t mar the softness of the flannel backing, and give it a lovely crinkly feel. Don’t know when I’ll get around to quilting the next project. Right now bigger issues loom.
Bigger is a term my daughter is quite weary of living, but of course her baby will come on his own good time. As we chat, I hear in her tone a gamut of emotions, swinging from elation to heavy doses of exasperation. I smile at her impatience, for once that fellow makes his appearance, all she has ever known will be thrown out the window.
Motherhood is a never-ending path. It’s led me away from Silicon Valley to watch the whole process begin anew. And I’m changing too, from someone’s mum to someone else’s grandmother. I don’t feel old, my hair is still nearly all brown. I quilt, but I also adore crunchy guitars. What makes a grandmother a grandmother anymore?
A baby, that’s what. but not my baby, and that’s the coolest part. My daughter moans and groans, sometimes from contractions, but mostly because she feels enormous and achy. And I get to partake of it all from a small distance, but enough of a gap that all I feel is love.
I’ve rejoiced when my sisters and friends had their children, but while I was made an aunt and godmother, those titles aren’t the same as an abuela. An abuela comes to stay with her hija, an abuela hears all the blah blah blah. An abuela, regardless of hair colour, is the closest thing to a mama as a mama, but with just enough separation allowing the abuela a most glorious role.
I’ll get nearly all the cuddling joy with none of the pain. Or very little of the agony.
Raising children has been a thrill, and now the cycle repeats itself, albeit it in a different manner. It’s no longer the 1990s, and odds are this grandson won’t grow up in England. He’ll likely dwell here in California, but maybe trips to foreign lands will dot his childhood. Goodness only knows where his life will take him, that’s years in the future. Right now we’re concentrating on the next few days, one of which will end up being the day of his birth. For the rest of his life, that day will carry all the connotations that surround such an auspicious moment. Funny to consider it now, that one of the next days will turn into such a treasure.
That’s what this author/abuela does, while the mum-to-be wishes it was already here. And as the abuela, I recall those days, long ago, wishing eagerly for my kids to arrive. But then I was like my daughter, only thinking of the here and now. Now, as the grandmother, my musings are those of one with perspective.
It’s like making a quilt, how smooth fabric becomes wrinkly in a matter of one wash cycle. It happens so fast, which a new mum simply can’t grasp. To her, each day lasts about thirty; why doesn’t this baby just come out? Yesterday I gently reminded her that she would never be pregnant for the first time ever again, to which she rolled her eyes. I smiled, knowing those words went in one ear and right out the other. Maybe there are a few gems of wisdom that just can’t be shared.
In the meantime, we wait, and later tonight we’ll snuggle under that new quilt, feeling a little person poking about right under his mother’s skin.