Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Great moms get promoted to GRANDMA"

As I mentioned in my last post about weddings, one of my high school girlfriends announced this past week on Facebook that her daughter is now engaged.

Tonight, another high school girlfriend had another announcement:  she & her husband (her high school sweetheart) will become grandparents later this year. I wasn't prepared for the stir of emotions I felt as each "congratulations!" commented popped up on the screen. I'm not sure what stung more -- all the "You will love being a grandparent, it's so great!" comments -- reminiscent of the comments I remember reading from my mother's friends in their Christmas cards to her, 14 years ago (AFTER Katie's stillbirth -- guess they hadn't heard the news...) -- or the stunned realization that many of them were being made by *other* people I went to high school with (but hadn't thought about in years) -- people who clearly had already crossed the Rubicon and are now grandparents themselves already. Dear Lord, I'm really not THAT  old, am I??

(Hmmm, I guess I am.)

Here I am, still and forever mourning the baby I lost 14 years ago, at 37, struggling to imagine her as a budding teenager -- while my peers have moved on from parenting tweens and teens to young adults, university students -- and now are moving on to an entirely different plane -- grandparenthood -- while I am... not. 

These aren't the first of my peers to have kids getting married or having babies. My cousin became a grandfather more than five years ago now, when he was 40 and the ink was barely dry on his daughter's high school graduation diploma. I learned last year that a good friend from high school is now a grandmother. Dh's cousin (the mother of the bride-to-be), younger than both of us, is a grandmother of one with another on the way shortly.  And of course, there's New Grandma Coworker at my office, still checking in almost daily on the phone to get the latest baby report. 

"Great moms get promoted to GRANDMA," I remember reading on a mug once. And wincing. I happen to think my own mom is pretty great. And I feel horribly guilty that she never got to enjoy the perks or recognition of grandmotherhood (even though she IS a grandma).

And while I never got to enjoy the perks or recognition that come with being an active parent, I have tried to be the best mom I can to my daughter, despite the limitations that death has placed on our relationship. 

But no matter how great a mom I am or might have been, I will never get promoted to Grandma. It's just one more loss, one more thing I am missing out on.

My life is pretty good most days... Being childless/free has its advantages. I am able to do a lot of things that my peers with kids can't.

But sometimes... well, you all know the rest...


  1. I'm sorry this stings. I was out a few nights ago with some friends. One of them has just become a grandmother for a second time. It was okay - and I responded to her photos with a photo of my niece. She reads my blog and understands, and I really didn't feel anything.

    One of the other women either doesn't really seem to get it (despite a late term loss of her own 30 years ago) - or just doesn't think. And I had one of those moments when I felt condescended to because I don't have children, being told something tht actually I had more direct experience of than the woman who commented. It stung. So sending hugs. I know it can hurt.

  2. That is a terrible slogan: and totally untrue, too. Boo.

  3. I'm sorry Loribeth. I'm 43 and also have school acquaintances that are grandparents. Doesn't bother me yet, but I know it probably will one day. My parents come from a small town in Cuba. And, what they say of small towns, I think is especially true of developing countries. It has its perks, there is little to do, but talk about everyone else's life. My parents are humble people and though we are better off finacially than my relatives on the island, we still go back and visit, help out friends and family, and just enjoy spending time with them. Last trip, however, I couldn't help but feel that in my dad's small town his "success" had become a source of envy and a way to strike back against him, was through my lack of children. My cousin pointed out twice that people (or maybe just one person) pointed out to him that I didn't have kids, and that he had gotten upset saying that is none of anyone's business. This bothered me on two counts. First, I hated that they were bothering him about this and then I hated that my cousin felt the need twice to point this out to me. I don't think there was any good intention behind this. Not long ago at my cousin's mother's funeral, I was told by a family friend, in front of my parents that I should give my parents grandchildren. I reminded her that my parents are already grandparents to my brother's kids, but she insisted, at which point my dad stepped in to tell her, they're good. It is impolite enough to inquire about lack of children, but to do so in front of others, and in front of someone's parents takes it to a whole new level.

  4. That statement on the mug, reminds me of how I don't tend to take anything for granted. I think this experience has taught me to be very cognizant that life offers no guarantees at all. It does tend to make us stronger I think. I guess that's one good thing. It also reminds me of recent interactions between my sil and my niece. My niece is pretty fearless and I love that about her. She and her brother just got certified to scuba dive. My sister in law, on the other hand, is not adventurous and was very nervous about the whole endeavor. So when my niece talks about other neat things she wants to do, my sister in law keeps saying, "Wait till you have children." I keep thinking,
    "I hope you will, if this is what you want," but I don't take anything as a given in this life. My niece responded by saying, "I'll worry about them, they'll just have proper fitting wetsuits and good gear."

  5. I agree, that slogan sucks :( It must be hard in a lot of ways, that added level to your loss.

  6. Being a step-grandma does not fill the loss of being a real grandma. Actually, I think it's worse because it reminds me of what will never be. I see the overflowing of joy of my co-worker becoming a gram for the 1st time. What joy she is expressing...just another reminder of what will never be....

  7. I hear you very loud... I'm at the age where I could be a grandmother now (that is if I had a baby, not miscarriage back then.) Sometimes I wonder what'd it be like, and find myself jealous of mothers and grandmothers- many cousins and sister-in-law says our children can be your children when you need to take care of, sometimes... sweet, but.. that makes it worse, in a sense.

  8. That's an overly sentimentalized statement if there ever was one! I was 35 in February, and a few weeks later a high school classmate (1995) posted on FB that she had just become a grandmother. She didn't get pregnant in high school, but her daughter did. (My town was small, but the high school had 1000 students, so it's not that small.) One person replied, "U R 2 young." Many of my classmates are not yet married -- the ones who have moved to more urban areas. I think there's about a 15-year gap between unseemly and fortunate.

    I found it weird that a friend, who has been through multiple miscarriages, said that she had better get grandkids as a payback for all the work she's doing now. Nothing's guaranteed.

  9. That saying does really hurt. For me it is hard to appreciate the things that I am able to do that friends without kids cannot, because this is not the life I wanted.