Mimi. That’s what my grandkids call me. People say “having kids is the most rewarding thing in life”. No. That’s a lie. Raising kids is fucking hard! Having grandkids is the most rewarding thing in life!
I got pregnant the summer I graduated high school. I had no idea what I was doing and I’m not sure I really have a grasp on it now. A few years later, I was married and had my second little boy. I was 22, married, with two kids. I was a bartender and their dad worked at a machine shop. We struggled financially and in our marriage, but all in all, we were pretty happy. It was hard raising two little kids on limited funds but you somehow get through it. Their dad worked 2nd shift and I worked weekends, so time together with the boys was definitely hard to come by. But you do what you have to do, even if at the time, you don’t know that’s what you’re doing.
We raised our young family as best as we knew how. Married and divorced to each other twice but somehow managed to remain pretty good friends and even better co-parents. But as I look back, it all seemed really hard. I always say “thank goodness i was forward thinking and irresponsible, because now I’m in my 40’s and my kids are grown.”. I know- solid advice right. You’re welcome. *takes a bow*
So fast forward to today. I’m literally sitting in the delivery room waiting on my third grand baby to make her appearance. I have two grandsons now and this little one will be the first girl in my family! I have two sons, two step sons and two grandsons. What do I do with a girl?! Yikes.
When I found out I was going to be a grandparent with my first grandson, I was terrified. Wait. Is that too harsh? No that pretty much sums it up. It was unexpected for sure and I wasn’t sure how to feel. (There’s another story behind that, saved for another day) I was recently divorced, 40 years old and felt I had raised my kids fairly well by this point. Almost as if I had started a new chapter in my life. Was this little kid here to wreck it? I kid, I kid. *Whispers “But was he?”
It was the exact opposite. He became the love of my life. You never think you’ll love anyone as much as you love your own kids- until they have kids. About 4 years later, another little grandson came into our lives. Your love doesn’t get divided, your heart grows.
With my grandkids, I feel like I get to enjoy them more than I did my own kids. One day, while putting my grandson is his car seat, he saw a leaf blowing around in the drive way. So, I let him chase it while I patiently waited. I never would’ve done that with my own kids. It was always “hurry hurry hurry” and “let’s get going”. It was at that very moment that I knew I was going to get to enjoy being Mimi.
When you’re a new mom or dad, you put your head down and get through it. You work hard and try to keep from losing a kid in the store. At the end of the day, as long as everyone is safe and fed- it’s a win. As a grandparent, you get to slow down. You get a do-over, if you will. You aren’t in a hurry, you have them on your time and when you’re ready for a nap, you text their parents and ask “what time are you coming to pick him up?”
Maybe some of you had or have it all together when you raised your kids. That wasn’t me. I did my best, no doubt. But there’s always regrets and “ah ha” moments you wished you had known. With grandkids, you get to experience the things you probably looked past with your own kids. You get to see the excitement or sadness that you may have missed just trying to keep your kid alive some days. Who knew a leaf blowing across the ground was so special? But it was.
Now, as I sit here waiting for little girl Lane to appear, I hope she loves me like her brothers do. Because I can already feel my heart growing for her with every hour that passes. I look at my son, asleep in the hospital recliner and feel my heart full of pride. He’s a good man and a good father. And I’m so glad I didn’t lose him in a store when he was little.