Sit back with a cup of whatever and settle in, this is a long one with a lot of thoughts processing.
What did you want to be when you were young looking ahead at life?
Most of my teenage years were spent wanting to be a pilot of a fighter jet then it changed to helicopter but the dreams where quickly dashed with my less than ideal eyesight and adult asthma. At times I had ideas of studying and teaching history and/or archeology. There was a period where I dreamed of marrying someone in high society and doing posh parties and dressing to the nines.
There was a very rare occasion of wondering if I would be a mother. They were fleeting moments of curiosity. I never had the maternal itch really not like many women I hear who dream of the day. My barbies were working women or party girls, not dreaming of Ken and babies so much as having a great time. Sometimes I thought of names I would like if I did have babies but honestly that was more of a societal obligation coming through. I sometimes figured I’d have children because that’s what we do right? There are other reasons I leaned away from the idea of procreating that I’ll leave for maybe another post at some point.
Over the years, babies and children have tended to find me a curiosity which has played well for babysitting and enjoying friends having babies. They like to check me out and watch me. I am definitely not the woman who will grab at babies nearby and insist on holding them. If the mom offers I’m happy to enjoy the bundle for a bit but you won’t hear me making weird baby cooing noises at them. Actual bonding with a child has not happened for me.
Now and then I have a few months of a bit of an urge or maybe a hope will stir but it fades and honestly at almost 45 years old for me not to have become pregnant (except the one moment that was lost a couple of years ago) at this point I am fairly certain it isn’t possible anyway so my body and mind were rather united in this. It also fit with our lifestyle, my husband has two children, grown adults now, and we have been happy with that.
It has been a bit difficult being military and living overseas the last several years and their mother isn’t exactly on board with co-parenting. We have not seen his kids much and I have not formed much of bond with them as a result. In fact, I’m fairly sure they aren’t exactly fans of me which is ok, I get it and I stay in the background trying not to be an obstacle between them and their father.
All of this said, it never entered my brain that I could actually be a grandparent one day. As a stepmom it wasn’t something I really put together that I could be one based on marriage, if not blood. Maybe this was a bit of denial? I had known my husband would possibly one day be a grandfather but my thought process had not grasped that I would be a grandmother (Nonna) because he and I are married.
That day has arrived and I am rather unprepared. As of today she is five days old. There are emotions going on which are a bit alien to me. Emotions that are similar to those I had when my niece and nephews were born but they have not been a part of my life the last decade so I have distanced myself emotionally from them to some extent. I actually thought my heart had hardened some because of that situation.
Nope, I’m a bit of a ball of mush about this grandbaby. I’m wanting to spoil her and hoping so much that we can be friends as she grows up. Watching my husband cry every time we see a photo or video of her is a new experience for me, he isn’t normally emotional at all.
If I’m completely honest, there is a war going on inside of me. I want to be in love with her but I have a wall going up already, to prepare for the possible let down if she ends up not liking me (will she not take to her odd, tattoo clad, partially shaved head Nonna?) or if there’s a family fallout that makes it difficult for us to have a relationship with her. Already we have to prepare for not seeing her as often as we’d like because we are military and currently stationed on the other side of the world from her. She will bond more with her closer grandparents, and I don’t begrudge her or them that but I’m a bit jealous of them too.
A friend of mine commented that she never pictured me being a grandmother. No kidding, but it’s here and isn’t that wonderful. A new chapter of my life begins.
(The photo is borrowed from https://www.spreadshirt.ca/nonna+t-shirts which I am planning on buying a shirt from because they are fantastic!)