I’m a first-time Nonna — however, my relationship with my new granddaughter is a long-distance one (my son and daughter-in-law live in California). But last week, they came home on vacation! I got to hold her tight against my chest and hear her breathe, I got to feel her soft skin, I got to smell her and listen to her voice. I got to look into her big blue eyes — for the first time. And with tears of joy, love and wonder, we connected instantly!
So, what is this “thing” that binds grandparents to their grandchildren?
It’s a different connection to the one I had with my children — the connection is at a new, and different level. It’s like I can see Georgia through older, wiser, quieter eyes (well, I would like to think I am wiser and quieter, I am definitely older!).
Reflecting on the time I have had with my granddaughter, I can see the connection is built upon a solid foundation of love and wonder.
Add to that time — I am not so busy trying to make life happen and keep on top of so many situations, I can stop and sit and be with my little one, and watch as she discovers the world around her. The beauty of sitting in the back garden as all the birds come down to feed and make a lot of noise.
Sharing her delight as she experienced bubbles being blown across her path. And the pure awe as she watched us set up and decorate the Christmas tree.
As a grandparent, I’m not so anxious. Sure, I still worry when she’s upset or can’t sleep. And yet I’m calmer, and that peace transmits over to her.
I also pondered the memories of my parents with my children. Mum and Dad played a strong role in the lives of my son and daughter. I can still recall my Dad pushing them tirelessly on the swing and listening patiently to their endless chatter. And my mum would cook with my daughter. (Ugh… cooking was and still is not my strong point!) My daughter adored getting in the kitchen with Nana and creating some delicious treats. Thanks, Mum!
I am sure my son, now 28, and my daughter, 25, cherish the beautiful and happy memories of their Nana and Grand-dad, and that is a great legacy and blessing.
My bond with Georgia is going to be different because she is so far away, so I have to get creative. I do “Georgia Boxes.” I fill these boxes with clothes I buy or sew, and toys and books that I have fun collecting… oh and some chocolate for her parents! I send these boxes to America regularly.
I have rediscovered scrapbooking, and I lose myself in the pages of photos, glue, buttons and trinkets that tell our story, and I write poetry — all these activities help the distance to dissolve, and the bond grow stronger.
Maybe you don’t have grandparents close by for your family. Look around. I’m sure you’ll find some older people in your world who are aching to share their love, wisdom, stories, hugs, joy, laughter, time, help and encouragement with you and your children.
And to me, those are the ties that bind grandparents and grandchildren tightly and yet gently together.
Originally published at Mum Daily. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.