We had the good fortune during the first half of Yule to have our Nana come for a visit. I mentioned it already last week, but wanted to take the extra moment now to wax grateful for the way(s) in which one sweet lady can make a whole world of difference in the lives of her grandchildren (and their parents).
She traveled most of a day to arrive, and raced — down to the last second — to see Bella perform in a kid version of the Nutcracker. She put us all up in a hotel suite (with a pool!) in Bozeman so we could stay the night, and accompanied us on the 200 mile drive back to Missoula the next day. Once here, she baked banana bread with Echo, and made sugar cookies with all three sisters. She brought them gifts that reflected her interest in them. She bought them bed spreads, and lamps, and pillows for the new bedrooms we will soon be decorating. She sat and read the girls story after story after story. She watched them play. She laughed at all their jokes. She even let Echo celebrate that she is “poofy”, and responded with a good natured pat on the back as Echo hugged and squeezed and nuzzled “the poof”.
It’s funny to see that my mother — you know, the lady I grew up with and who was (at least occasionally) a pain in my royal teenage ass — that lady, is a perfect grandmother. It comes as no surprise, I assure you, but it is strange, nevertheless, to witness the transformation so fully and so irrevocably.
My mother was a young woman, barely old enough to order a beer, when she had me. We were in many ways, perhaps, too close in age for me to perceive her as alienatingly parental after the age of 12 (or even before, though she was more “adult” before I was 12). It was just too easy to see her as a young woman dealing with her own stuff to think of her as this foreign dictatorial other — as I was taught to believe parents were supposed to be. As an adult, I have truly enjoyed this part of our relationship, as I believe she has. And it lasted a good 10 years into my being a parent, as well.
Now — perhaps because for the first time in ages she came without my step-Dad, who can at turns make her appear both more uninhibited and more authoritative — I have seen her in a light which, if not new, is at least brighter and more squarely framing her than ever before in the delicious brilliance of grandma-hood. She like a seasoned actress of stage and screen has found the role of her lifetime, and she is a shoe-in for the Oscar.
Funny how someone I know so well and have known for so much of my (and her) lifetime could become so much more herself right before my eyes. I love her so. And I am so thankful she and my daughters get to share in each others’ love. And I think, even if I didn’t like my mom as much as I definitely do, my girls all love their grandma so much that it would still be worth making sure they get to enjoy each other as often as possible.
That’s an awesome feeling.
Here’s to all the stellar grandmas out there. Thanks so much for all you do. (We’ve got several in our family, and we’re thankful for all of you!)