But, to me, she'll always remain my daughter. My beautiful first-born child, and I am so damn proud of her!
She does not have any plans for a baby at the moment, but this coming year will likely find her ready to grow her little family. And one day, when she has her own children to be busy raising, to fuss over, to worry about...she will join me in the biggest sorority ever created for women, and that is motherhood. It's a strange thing because mothers and daughters actually enter into a sort of sisterhood once the daughter has children of her own.
Mother has already experienced being both mother and daughter, but once the daughter is no longer only a daughter, but also a mother, the connection deepens and words are not even necessary any longer for the daughter to understand the depths of her mother's love. This happened to me when I gave birth to Heather. Even though I lived thousands of miles away from my mom as I gave birth to my first child, I suddenly faced that fact that my own mother and I had a common bond beyond our blood-bond with a deepening of our body-nurturing connection. We were both daughters, and now, we were both mothers. In that moment, I understood.
My whole life, I had been expecting my mother to understand me...the daughter. But, in the moment I entered parenthood for the first time, I truly felt that knowing-link go into reverse as I began to understand my mother. Up to that point, why had it been such a challenge and heartache to simply try to understand my mother? I guess it takes us being in the shoes, so to speak, to get to the same destination.
I looked at my baby in my arms and laughed while knowing it would take many, many long years for her to reach the comprehension that I had finally been gifted to understand.
One day soon, my daughter and future son-in-law hope to start a family of their own. When she does, all the hopes and dreams and love and affection she feels to her own child will be the spark that lights her own understanding about how she had been held by a young mother who felt all those same emotional whirlings. Even though my daughter and I now share a beautiful bond, things will be difference once she takes life a step further and becomes a mom.
Her inner vision will change that day, as if a beautiful canvas had the vibrant color red hidden and suddenly it bursts into view, yet has been there all along...you wonder how you have never been able to see it. Life is like that sometimes. She will become part of that vibrancy that will remain partial secret until her own day of revelation is upon her.
I will be thrilled for the day when she holds her own baby and feels that amazing awestruck motherish bubbling inside of her, then she will know I have always felt the same for her and it will be incredible.
Sometimes, to fully understand you have been well loved, you have to love well...babies really give us the chance to love well beyond anything we have ever loved before.
And no, not all mothers are loving and supportive, that's a hard truth in this world. Some are cold, uncaring and detached because they were incapable of ever forming a bond with any child. For the children of such parents, I am sorry, but there is something healing about holding your own child and seeing that the love that has been possible is not still out of reach. That's the beautiful part about life. We are given multiple chances to love and to be loved. It is up to us to take advantage of those chances instead of pushing them away.
As for me, my days of mothering were the most beautiful days I can remember; however, I know more are to come. The days of being a grandparent has got to be amazing. If I LOVED being a mother and being present and nurturing to my children throughout their growing years, I can only imagine that I'll be a puddle of mush for the grandbabies with a few dollars in my purse ready to give out and a jar of M&M's on the counter. I will work hard to maintain my softness so it will be ready as a comforting body cushion while I read a few good books that will give me a chance to bellow various character voices.
As a mom, I rejoice in the beautiful moments we have together, I stomp my feet in the frustrating times and get snarky when I feel a good tongue-lashing should have been in order. But, having a daughter who is almost 25 is a different story. The snarky moments now lead to laughter because my "baby" is indeed a grown woman that I admire. And frankly, I love the freedom that has given me as a woman, to know Heather's decisions are of her own making. There's a freedom in knowing you've raised your children to make the best choices for themselves.
Then, you get to sit back and enjoy the show.
You get to smile at their own ups and downs while knowing they'll make it through it because you've already been there, probably a few times already.
You get to watch the cycle of life repeat itself and to be assured that the same old obstacles will always get in the way, but you hope your children are smarter in removing them or avoiding them or barreling through them or you can simply sympathize as those old obstacles cause the same pains you had once endured.
October 13th will be a day when my "baby" will still be my "baby." That will never change. The difference is, she will be closer to knowing in her soul what it means to have a baby and to realize you will feel the same about them, even when they hit fifty years old.
My mother is gone now, but I will always be her baby, whether she is here or not. These days, I have my father constantly reminding me that I am forever his baby...yes dad...I do understand. I love being your baby. I know this and it is beautiful.
The big day is fast approaching. I am going to savor that day for all it is worth. I am going to celebrate the start of a new marriage that will enlarge our own family. To me, that is beyond exciting and makes my heart go a bit faster.
On that wedding day, I am going to be sending up my blessings to God as he watches the joining of two of HIS babies, and then I'll sit back a bit more, relax a little deeper, and keep enjoying the seconds, minutes, and days of my time left here on earth. Life itself is a great show. Enjoy it! All of it!