Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writers (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and more). Please join in each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.
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What is a Grandmother? by Suzanne Woods Fisher
“A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.”
I arrived late in the night in Rhode Island, anxious to meet my 2-day-old grandson Blake after a full day of flying. My daughter and son-in-law had just returned home from the hospital and felt like they had been in a train wreck. There was stuff everywhere. Already, the needs of this little eight-pound bundle of joy were enormous: an all-terrain stroller, plenty of diapers, onesies, spit-up rags, an assortment of pacifiers to try out until he found the ideal one.
And he was perfect.
I know, I know. “Every mother crow thinks her own little crow is the blackest.” But this little dark-eyed, dark-haired boy really was perfect.
I spent the next seven days (and nights) getting to know this little guy. His schedule (he had none), his hunger cries (very similar to his every other cry). His pirate look – one eye open, one eye squeezed shut, as if he was still surprised by all that had taken place to him in a week’s time.
I felt surprised, too. How could my baby possibly have had a baby? How could I be a grandmother? I had just turned 51. Shockingly young! How could a kid like me give up playing tennis three times a week to settle into knitting and crocheting and Friday night bingo? And shouldn’t I alter my appearance to fit this new label? Give up my jeans? Switch over to below knee-length calico dresses, thick black socks, practical shoes, gray hair pinned in a topknot. Think … Aunt Bee on Mayberry R.F.D.
As soon as people knew my daughter was expecting, I was bombarded with advice from my well-meaning friends — even those who weren’t yet grandparents. “The best way to avoid getting on the nerves of your daughter and son-in-law is to not say anything. Ever.” Or “You’d better pick your nickname or you’ll be stuck with something hideous, like MooMoo Cow.”
What should I be called? Granny? No … reminded me of The Beverly Hillbillies. Grandma? No … sounded like The Waltons. Grammy? No … it was already taken by the in-laws.
But no one really explained what it meant to be a grandmother. I didn’t know myself, not until I held baby Blake in my arms. In that moment, I realized he was one of mine. He belonged to me. He will be on my mind and in my prayers, every day, for the rest of my life. There’s a bond between us that can’t be broken. He has altered my life forevermore.
I had become a grandmother.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting and The Search, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California. www.suzannewoodsfisher.com