added Jun. 19th, 2013
The first time I was referred to as my daughter’s grandma, she was 2 days old and in the hospital. I hadn't actually given birth to this child so it would be natural for the hospital photographer not to realize this was my baby. However, my daughter’s birth mom was with us and she was close to 30…. Did this photographer think I could be HER mother? OUCH! I would have given birth at 8!
The next time happened after my maternity leave for said baby, a co-worker asked me, and I quote, “How’s that grandbaby of yours?” A) She’s my BABY, no “grand” about it and B) what grandma takes maternity leave? There have been more instances, but I don’t really want to recall them ALL, you get the picture: I’m a mother of advanced age. I have the laugh lines and stash of hair dye to prove it. In fact, I've taken to giving my age as 10 years older. Why not? I will never pass for someone in their 20s, but I look AMAZING for someone “over 50” – I’m going with it.
I wasn't always a grandma-looking mommy. My first two kids came when I was actually in my early 20s. We knew we wanted more children; number three just took a little longer than expected. We didn't plan on having this caboose 11 years later, but apparently she planned it that way so there you go. After it’s all said and done, the best advice I can give to anyone considering more children is “wait a decade between kids!” To say we love it is an understatement. We LOVE it! We've seen the other side of potty training, middle school, driver’s permits, and even college applications. We survived!
I remember when my oldest learned how to walk like it was just last summer; only last summer I helped him move out. I must be having fun because time is FLYING by! This makes it easier to accept the harder parts of parenting a little one again- it IS hard to get up in the middle of the night, it IS hard to teach a small person the concept of sharing, BUT these challenges pass and we will move on to the next phase at lightning speed. I am much more patient with her and with myself.
The thing I miss most about being a young mommy are those days before school started, when it was just me and a couple of toddlers in tow. If we wanted to spend the morning watching the Price Is Right yelling out numbers and then hit the park all afternoon, it happened. My youngest came into a family where older siblings had everything from hockey practice, to swim team, to guitar lessons. There was no such thing as a lazy afternoon: she learned to nap in the car from the beginning. She has also had to live with her brother moving out to college, that hasn't been easy. In fact, when she wants to punish one of us, she tells us we will have to “move out to college.” She views it as something awful, worse than time out.
I don’t know if we are better parents this time around, but I hope we’re not worse. I have learned it doesn't matter what age you are, you are always important to your children. And as a word of advice: don’t ever ask a woman if she’s pregnant or refer to a child as a grandbaby unless you KNOW for sure.