The first Mother’s Day I celebrated as a grandmother, both my daughters, Diella and Elyssa, celebrated as first-time mothers. Before then, that day had always been exclusively mine. All the glory and honor directed at me. Sure I was the Matriarch, but from then on, Mother’s Day was forever transformed.
It was the previous year, as I popped open the champagne my youngest daughter, heavy with her own child, had given me, that I felt the winds of change blowing in. After bypassing her glass with a “none for you,” I went to fill my eldest child’s glass for my annual toast. Her hand blocked my way as she said the words that would forever change that day, “None for me either, Mum!”
We would, from then on, each define ourselves from the perspective of motherhood. The three of us would find our lives from that time transformed. We never quite know the shape our Mother’s Day will take. Who buys gifts for whom? Uncertainty reigns. One thing that is certain, however, is how proud I am to share this day with these two amazing mothers.
When daughters become mothers, the original mother-daughter relationship shifts. In reality, of course, it has been shifting for better or worse throughout the years. Adding a grandchild allows a reunion as adults and puts the knee-jerk reactions of the past behind. Hurt becomes healing and healing becomes Joy. For my girls and I, this has been a very positive reunion.
On this third Mother’s Day, with a full heart, I’m paying tribute to the daughters who have given me my greatest gifts.
Diella and Elyssa,
First of all, I love you to the moon and back. Thank you for giving me the gift of grandparenting. My heart, soul and arms are fuller than I ever dared hope. Watching you both raise your children fills me with joy, awe and incredible respect.
I’m obviously besotted by my grandchildren. What may not be so obvious, however, is that I’m equally besotted by you. Thank you for never giving up on me. You are remarkable
mothers. Some of this you may have learned from me. Much of it you did not.
My own childhood badly prepared me for motherhood. I knew I wanted to be a mum, but I had no idea what that entailed. I knew I loved you, and I did the best I could given the limited tools I had. As a parent raising you, I expected you, at times, to play both child and mother roles. I sometimes forgot you were watching and waiting for me to be that more available mother. Other things pulled me in many directions. Somehow, I thought there would be more time, that you would still be there waiting. I had no idea how to be in the moment with you when other things clouded my mind. I grew as you grew. Along the way we struggled.
Becoming a Grandmother has made me a better mother, indeed a better human being. The two of you have guided me through the path of motherhood and into the garden of grandparenthood. Learning is lifelong, and this life has given me two formidable daughters as teachers. You both have a fierce passion and a quiet, patient love that appears to be limitless.
As your mum, I know how busy and stressful your lives can be at times. I know the struggle of working and, at times, single parenthood. I know that even though physically exhausted you are never too exhausted for that “one more story, or one more kiss.” You are never for a moment doubtful of your true priority. Safe in the knowledge that they are fully loved, Copeland and Jack will become loving, secure men.
As each day passes, you become more mother, yet you also become more daughter. I see my nanny, my mum and myself as I watch you with your children. At times I see the babies I once held as I hold you or stroke your hair. As we renegotiate the roles we play, we alternate being adult, child and parent. Each giving the other a chance to both nurture and be nurtured.
Being your mum and the grandmother to your children is the reason I am on this Earth.
So on this third precious unified Mother’s Day, I look forward to the uncertainty each moment will bring. Every blessed, sweet, messy, surprise. My girls and I continue to grow in our own roles and as a family.
This particular Mother’s Day brings with it an extra gift; the promise of a new life. I will welcome a granddaughter, Cadence, a sister for Jack, in a few short months. The cycle of life continues. A future daughter, sister, niece, cousin and one day, hopefully, mother.
Sharon Cole lives in Delmar and is a licensed speech-language pathologist and proud grandmother. Her goal is to enhance children’s lives through love, laughter and language. She can be reached at [email protected] or www.facebook.com/britishnannyslp.