LESSONS FROM A ROOKIE GRANDMOTHER
By Pam Torres
This year I became a grandmother for the first time. I had approximately 7 months of preparation. I shopped for blankets, booties, bibs and baby diapers. I drooled over tiny little onsies in white and neutral colors since the sex of this grandchild was to be kept a secret from everyone except God and the Dr. Yellows, greens, blues, cream colors and even reds were available in so many wonderful little outfits. I bought sheets, blankets, bottles, nursing pads (not for me of course), breast pumps and pacifiers. I helped research names, origins and meanings. I planned the baby shower and games, organized the food and even made the invitations. In between all of the baby busy-ness, I gave advice, encouragement, ideas and opinions. I dreamt of what it would be like to hold that little baby in my arms and sing sweet songs while rocking in the chair that was my own grandmothers.
As the months passed by, I prayed for strength for my daughter to endure what I knew was coming, but didn’t have the heart to tell her. (I assumed it would be as easy as my two were…how wrong I was.) I helped put together the crib and changing table and had the local fire-station set the car seat base in my car. I stocked up on film, batteries, photo albums and wipes, all the while trying to get my mind wrapped around my little girl having a baby that was part of me and her dad.
Preparing for “grandmother-hood” was a joy, but nothing can explain the euphoria that came over me when I finally got to lay eyes on that beautiful baby boy. The “how-to’s” and planning and preparation all went by the wayside. I remember like it was yesterday the birth of each of our children, and the love that grew as each came into our lives, yet seeing that grandbaby was something I can’t even really explain. All the magazines and books can do is give you the a,b,c’s of what’s to come, but they don’t touch the emotion of overwhelming contentment and sheer joy and fear (yes, at the same time) that I got. Fear of the world that he was being brought into, and joy for the fact that he had a life ahead of him of freedom, and choices and opportunities that many don’t have. He has a father and mother who adore him and provide their best for him, and a grandmother and great-grandmother, uncles, aunts who are there for him to encourage when he’s down, uplift when he falls and to pray for when he wakes up in the morning.
I am a rookie grandma, and I have a lot to learn. A couple items to bring up that were difficult for me, and I would have like to have some preparation for, were the following:
- Car seats and how they work. How tight is tight?
- Sleeping arrangements at my home. Play pen or Travel Play yard?
- Formula types for when mommy didn’t pump any milk for the stay at grandma’s
- Foods to stay away from while babysitting, such as humus, oranges, things with peanut oil or eggs. This is obviously not when they’re newborns. Food allergies are something I learned the hard way!
- Putting to sleep. What works the first time, may not work 2 weeks from now. Get creative. I sing “Jesus Loves Me” and constantly move back and forth in front of a mirror so he can see himself. Don’t laugh. It works.
- How to fold up the stroller and put in the back of the car.
- Packing a diaper bag before going out.
- Keeping extra pacifiers around in random places.
- Have your camera with you at all times; charged up & ready for those random & unexpected moments.
- Most importantly, be prepared for falling hopelessly in love and having your heart completely swept away.
I am now 10 months down the road from that beautiful Fall day that my grandson was born, and I’m still learning how to be the best possible grandmother and positive influence in this little person’s life. I pray God grants us many years together to enjoy and love each other; however if the time comes that I must leave this earth for my “other home”, that he will remember to always be honest and real; to put God first in all matters and to live his life for others, because then you’re looking heaven in the face.