Growing up, you might say that I didn’t experience the cookie-baking and warm hugs type of grandparent relationship. Unfortunately, both grandparents on my father’s side were deceased by the time I was born. On my mother’s side, I have a grandmother. Now, don’t get me wrong, my grandmother is and was a loving and caring person. She just wasn’t the type to greet you at the door in her apron with a fresh plate of chocolate chip cookies to go around. Oh, and you better never utter the word “bored” in her presence if you know what’s good for you. However, we had the opportunity to travel from Iowa to Arkansas once or twice a year to visit her, and I remember always having a great time.
You can’t miss what you never had…
…or can you? It didn’t really occur to me until I was on the verge of having my own child, but I wanted her to have an involved, cookie-baking, warm hugs relationship with her grandmother (who we now affectionately call ‘Nana’. It’s not really a secret amongst my closest circles that my upbringing had its tumultuous bits. After I graduated high school, I was supposed to move to Colorado with my mom who had then split from my dad (insert cliche here). Yes, I stayed behind for a boyfriend. But hey, I now live in Nebraska with my husband and children, and who can’t call that meant to be? Fast forward over a decade later, my mom moved back to the Midwest to help me raise my little ones.
What I witnessed softened my heart.
After spending 12+ years in a different state than my mother, a solid half of those in young, formative adulthood, having her nearby again was a bit of an adjustment. I like to think she felt the same. My mother is a lovely woman who thrives off of helping others. Unfortunately, being on my own through young adulthood left me with a fierce, unyielding independent streak and perspective of the world. Let me take this opportunity to say this is by no means due to my mother. Staunch independence and the drive (to a fault) to do things on my own has plagued me from a young age. Just ask any teacher or employer I’ve literally ever had. While this lends to initiative, my independent mindset often falls in my weakness category.
I didn’t know how to be helped.
I like my world when there is no one else to blame but me. If I do everything, no one else could possibly be at fault if something goes awry. Does this work in parenting? Quick answer—NO. Becoming a mama has helped me grow in ways unimaginable before. While I struggled to adjust to being offered mass amounts of help in the beginning, I now find immense blessing in the helping hands of my mother. Not only that, but she is the warm hugs and cookie-baking Nana every child deserves. She truly cherishes my children and would spend most of her waking moments with them if she could.