grandma

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This is a not-so-wordless Wednesday.

The day after Jack was born, the sun beamed into my hospital room. I could tell it was a gorgeous early fall day, the kind where we’d probably be pushing the stroller around town. Workboats congregated the Hudson, the parking lot was busy with visitors and most importantly, my heart was full.

I was finally a mom.

Because only our parents came from Va. to visit, my room wasn’t highly trafficked. It was just the way an exhausted sore new mom (doped up on pain meds) would want it. We had a sweet baby boy, we were with our supportive parents and had the most attentive care while in the hospital.
But truthfully, a small part of me felt empty.

I remember my dad recalling some heinously wonderful memory about me doing something ridiculous to make light of an otherwise emotionally charged day. And somehow, those emotions segued to memories including my grandma. My dad’s lighthearted anecdote of my grandma, rattled my insides and I felt overwhelmed. My laughter turned to tears. Big crocodile tears.

Jeff, who was at my side, patted my back but didn’t say a word.

He got it. He always does.

My parents, on the otherhand, weren’t sure what happened. Dad asked if I was ok.

But, all I could do was cry- cry, because I missed her so much.

In that hyperventilated tearful way, all I could say was, “I just wish she could be here to meet him. She would have loved him.”

And that’s all that needed to be said. Because, in a way, I knew she was there. Perhaps she wasn’t there physically, but she was there.

Lately, I’ve been finding myself explaining our childcare scenario and how my mom has been a Godsend in that department. There’s been power struggles and lots of cultural and generational conflicts. It’s all a part of the growing pains. I now grasp what mom endured when we were kids.

I’m nostalgic today because 6 years ago, I got that ill-fated phone call in the middle of the night. It was a hard loss. Anyone who’s lost a loved one knows that level of heartache.

My grandma was very much another mother to me. Through her endless story telling, I learned about my culture and our (crazy) family tree. We watched Young and the Restless every day together from age 4 to 24. She braided my hair every day before school. She picked me up from the bus. She was the first person I told after Jeff proposed. She was the one who said that our house in Va. wouldn’t be the same after I moved to NYC. And I’m pretty sure my moodiness assertiveness came from her.

grandma2Jack’s nursery at my mom’s house was my grandma’s bedroom. Her room for many years was a time capsule. It was left untouched, for the most part, due to sentimental reasons. Before Jack arrived, we enlisted a family friend to help sort out memories so that they could transform the room to a nursery. It was a hard change for the family, but one that needed to be done. It was a turning point, in that we were ready to welcome Jack, but still keep grandma’s memory alive.

Now that Jack is being cared for my by mother, I can see the same closeness and can feel the bond they share. I’ve been there; he’s a lucky boy. Sacrifices are made by many, but Jack is in the best care, just like my brothers and I were.

It’s that same familiar refrain, except this song includes two different generations living in two different states, balancing two different cultures, but still exuding the same unconditional love.

There’s not much to get, other than I was blessed with such an incredible woman in my life– one who didn’t get a chance to meet my baby, but is still very much a part of him.

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