17 October 2021

From Mother To Grandmother

my daughter and newborn son

Your children are not your children
…….they belong not to you
– Kahlil Gibran –

I have just returned from a five day visit to my grandson. What a joy it was to
hug him, to look into his eyes and know him. I had such fun. I played soccer! Yes, I did! Even with this really bad knee. Accommodations were made. He is the goalie and I line up the ball and give it my best shot! It was a goal he says! No I say, you touched it! Well, yes he says but really we should make it that even if I have touched it and it hits the net, you have scored a goal! Every time I visit and play I get more confident, I try drop shots, in fact, I am a child again! We played monopoly for hours on end. Such a luxury to say YES every time he asks: what about some monopoly? This time I was initiated into a very special bit of his world. Now I feel sure no one will guess what that was?!

I took part in raiding a pillager outpost in the video game Minecraft! That was for this dear 8-year-old the biggest gift I could have given him!

The greatest gift he gave me was to hop into our bed every morning with a book under his arm. There truly is nothing like The Twits or Winnie the witch with one’s first cup of coffee!

My grandson on the beach

My grandson

Now that he is getting older, really maturing, I found I could talk to him about what I believe, my philosophy on how life works. But a question arose for me. Why is being a grandmother so very different from being a mother? Why can I so clearly now see my mistakes in mothering my children? Gosh it hurts!

I have been home for a day and bit and thinking, thinking what it is that makes the difference. Of course there is age and experience and being grown up at last. Yes, all of the above, but at the heart of it is that I am so clear that my grandson is a separate person. I acknowledge the distance between us. It seems to me that with my children I was over invested in how I felt, what I thought, what I wanted. I loved them so, but my feelings, my reactions were too often too important.

If you see you are wrong, then at that instant you can give up being wrong.
– P. Peirce –

My son and I

My son and I

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1 year ago

I don’t have grandchildren in my life to be able to compare the experience, but I agree with you Di – too invested, too presumptuous that my children would think like me. Recipe for heartache, if ever, but also a learning.

Gibran captures it well – they belonged not to me.
Although I loved the innocent years when I thought they did.

Sue Hepworth
Sue Hepworth
1 year ago

I read this post two days ago and have been considering it off and on since then to decide if I agree with you.
I have a different view. I love being a grandmother, and find it easier and more fun than being a mother and it’s because of the lack of responsibility. I don’t have to worry about what they are eating, where they’re going to go to school, and I don’t have to concern myself with day to day discipline. Yes I have to keep them safe while they’re in my care, but my job is to love and encourage them, perhaps to share the things that are important to me, but above all, to have fun.