One of the special gifts we can receive is to hear the news we will become a grandmother for the first time. The experience is hard to capture in words, but is unforgettable whether we have been waiting for a long time or it came about unexpectedly. Whatever motherhood meant to you or even felt like, this will be totally unique and bring with it distinctive memories and challenges.
I still recall the first time this happened to me and how exciting it was even though this little bundle of joy would be born more than 500 miles away. Along with the excitement was the uncertainty about what would lay ahead and what it would be like to grandparent from such a distance.
I was not blessed to have a lot of grandparent experiences because one set of grandparents had died before I was born, and the grandmother of the other set died by the time I was eight. Most of my observations came from watching my mother with our two children. She lived only a few miles away and was amazing at this new role. (Our children delight in sharing all the many ways she and my dad played games of all sorts and did things I cannot recall them doing when I was a child.)
Whatever stereotype you might have when you think of the word “grandma” or “grandmother” you can readily set aside because there is freedom to become whatever suits you, your location, and situation. (You can also be comfortable with whatever name or choice of word you want to be used by this bundle of joy in addressing you.)
Lisa Carpenter’s new book, The First-Time Grandmother’s Journal, is something to keep memories of this new adventure and also offer you prompts and ideas for how you can navigate this new role. But there will be lots of spaces for you to make this book your very own.
The book is divided into two portions: one when you first learn the news and before this little bundle arrives and one for writing down memorable moments of the first year together. You’ll have a chance as well to explore your own feelings and sense of this new role and child.
This book is a gift to give yourself if you have just learned you will become a grandmother or one to give if you know someone who is experiencing it for the very first time. Just as time seemed to go faster than you expected when you were raising your own bundle of joy, grandchildren seem to grow up in the blink of an eye. Recording those special moments now will be something to treasure later and then to share with your grandchild when he or she is older.
I am blessed to have the gift of being a grandmother six times over with three granddaughters and three grandsons in the mix, two from our son and four from our daughter. It seems like only yesterday that at least one of them was snuggled in my arms on a visit. None live nearby and we have learned all sorts of ways to connect and come to know each as the special gift he or she is. They currently range in age from 16 to 26 and include a nurse, one in medical school, two in college, one about to enter college, and a high school sophomore. As I write this, we just finished a FaceTime with our medical school grandson and participated in a virtual recital with another grandchild yesterday.
Savor every moment of this new season and look for all the little ways you have to influence this new little one as you play, tell stories, take walks, and get techie with video calls. Let Lisa Carpenter’s new book keep the memories of the new journey to cherish for a lifetime.