About Me

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I am a multifaceted woman, living with intention and passion. I always see the glass as half full (ok, almost always). Currently into: jewelry design, glass beadmaking (aka lampworking), visual journaling, cooking and web design everything. Things that bring me great joy: my family, friends, Scrabble, British period pieces, Shabby Chic, Austin, TX, mini art tiles, autographed cookbooks, chocolate, Chianti, pedicures and beach glass. I don't "do" and/or dig: dishonesty, guilt, intolerance, unkindness, drama and goat cheese (it's a long story, but I love all the other cheeses!) So you now have a teeny tiny little picture of me, with a few warts thrown in. Welcome to my world!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Impending Grandparenthood

Vintage Baby Shower Invite
   You might need a cup of tea or coffee for this one, and a biscuit or two...

     When my son and daughter-in-law called us back in late November on Skype, and wanted to speak to both my husband and I together, I was pretty sure of the reason why, baby on the way, and of course, my new found grandmotherly intuition was right on the money!  With a due date of August 8, I thought I had more time to get my thoughts together about my impending grandparenthood, but alas, there is a good chance I will join the ranks of grandmothers all over the world sooner than later. My daughter-in-law is in the hospital with contractions today! Although she is still 6 weeks from the due date, there is a good chance she will have the baby early. She and my son were here a couple weeks ago for a visit and baby showers, and she did look like she was ready to go, so maybe the due date was off by a few weeks? Regardless, it is time to think about this new role of Abuelita, which is the Spanish term of endearment for grandmother, and what I hope all my grandchildren will call me.
Me with one of my Abuelitas
     I had the chance to think about grandparents when my first son was born, making my parents grandparents for the first time. I watched my parents fall in love with him before he was even born and then fall madly in love with him once he arrived. It often brought tears to my eyes to watch them with him, as well as with each of the other three that came along. We, the parents, were also in love with him, delighted beyond reason, he was so beautiful and perfect. But as parents, we were also responsible for raising him to be a "good" person, based on what we believed qualified as "good." Good manners, morals, ethics, hygiene...all that stuff. Lots of love, affection and support along with solid boundaries, discipline and consistency. As I watched my parents with my newborn son, I knew that I wanted it to be that way always. I did not want them to have to be disciplinarians, I just wanted them to enjoy him and I wanted him to enjoy his time with them as well. So I made a point of not asking my parents to be long term caregivers of my son. They would babysit and help us out occasionally with childcare, but not on any kind of regular basis. And even when my mom retired early and I could have asked her to watch my kids a couple days a week, I refused to even think about it. I also believed that my parents had done their stint as parents already. They deserved to enjoy their retirement and their grandchildren, not sign up for the parenting thing all over again.

     And I can now say that my kids have a wonderful relationship with their grandparents. They will spend a week with them, one at a time, or my parents will come up and watch them all for a few days while my husband and I have a little getaway. But it is fun, they are not raising them, just enjoying them. They aren't perfect kids, but they do mind and they are not afraid of my parents in any way. Now how do I plan to be a perfect Abuelita? I believe in living with intention, so I know I must think about this, envision the type of relationship I want to have with my grandchildren and plan accordingly. I have a couple difficulties to tackle though. And if anyone has ANY suggestions on how to think about this, please leave me a comment!
     Because I have an 11 year old (as well as a 17 and 19) at home, it will be hard to "spoil" a grandchild here. When my son was born, my brothers and I were all in our twenties. My brothers were on the spoiling bandwagon too, and never felt any competition with their nephew and then other nieces and nephews that came along. But an 11 year old is different. When my youngest brother had his first over five years ago, my then 6 year old was very jealous of all the attention the "new" grandchild was getting. She had been the youngest grandchild and now was no longer in the main spotlight. How will she feel when she sees me all gooey over my first grandchild, while she looks on? Knowing her the way I do,
it will be very difficult for her. She is a very empathetic and compassionate girl. But she is still very young. All kids need a lot of attention, but during those tweenage years, they have so many self doubts and seem to need extra attention. It is also an awkward time of life, your body making all this hormonal commotion that you have no control over. I can see everyone with their backs to her as they ooh and aah over the baby. And I will be torn. I want to be the grandmother my mom was and is, but I am still in the middle of mothering a young one myself. How will I strike a balance here? I know how to love and have plenty to go around, that is not the issue at all. But my first born son will be expecting me to be completely enthralled and mesmerized by my new grandchild (which I will be, believe me), while my 11 year old will be watching to see if I happen to love that new grandchild more than her. I'm chuckling now, but I know this will really be something I will have to deal with shortly.
     So I am very excited, wondering if I will be a grandmother within the next few hours or days, and also wondering how to make the parent/grandparent juxtaposition work in the most loving way possible. Wish me luck or leave me some advice, it is all appreciated!


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