My mom has always looked forward to the day she would be a grandma. I remember when I was younger- first, dating my husband, and then engaged, and eventually married; mom was excited at the prospect of someday becoming a grandma. My grandma was the absolute best grandma a kid could ever ask for, with sleepovers and baking dates, back scratches and stories of her younger days…I am very blessed to have such great memories with my grandma. My mom was anxious to follow in her own mom’s footsteps and was determined that she would be the “favorite” grandma.
When the grandkids finally started to come, they were my mom’s greatest pride. She had pictures hanging on her filing cabinets and on her desk at work. She loved showing off her babies whenever we stopped by for a visit. She always bought them little gifts and loved spending time with them. She made up little songs for them and had lots of toys and activities for our visits. There was no doubt how much my mom loved her grandkids.
I think about this often. It’s hard to not feel “cheated” sometimes for my kids. It makes me so sad to know that they will never have the grandma experience that I had. The bond I had with my grandma was so strong…my kids will never know what that is like. They will never have a grandma for sleepovers, to bake goodies with, to take them out on little dates. They will never know the woman that my mom once was. They were too young to remember mom before the dementia days.
Last night, I was tucking my little girl into her bed and I laid down beside her. We talked about my mom and she pointed out a tender moment from earlier that evening, when my mom had stood behind me at the dinner table and scratched my back for a brief moment. How sweet that moment was. Somehow, my perceptive little girl picked up on that and could tell that I longed to have my mommy back. I expressed to her how much I missed my mom. Together, we shed a few tears as I told her how very much her grandma loved her and how overjoyed she was when she became her grandma. I reassured her that it was only the dementia that prevented her from being the best grandma in the universe. I told her to look for those small moments of love and to cherish them; a smile, a hug, a push on the swing. Hold those memories tight and know that your grandma loves you.
Earlier that evening (at family dinner), I was standing at my kitchen sink, preparing dinner, and I peered out the window to the backyard. I saw my mom sitting on a swing beside my 2 year old. Every now and then she would give him a little push and they looked like two friends, swinging side by side, smiling as they flew up and down. Swinging just happens to be one of my son’s favorite things. How happy I was that he was able to have that moment with his grandma. My brother-in-law, who was barbequing out back, noticed this sweet moment too and captured it on video with his phone. I thought I would share [sorry it’s not great quality…but you get the idea].