Being a grandma is not what I thought it would be. I find yet another part of my fairy tale dreams smashed against the breakers of life as a single mother.
As my youngest child turned the corner of life, leaving the alleys of adolescence behind to rush into the busy demanding avenues of adulthood, my eyes and heart leapt to the future to the days of being GRANDMA. The glory days of life where we get to redeem the years, give extravagantly; and see only good in the little ones that call us endearing names like Nana, Gramma, MeMa, etc. Yes, the days of GRANDMA were before me, I could reach out and almost touch them. I had labored hard as a mother so that I could delight in and relax into the joys of being a grandparent.
I imagined days and nights filled with reading stories, digging in the garden, cuddling in bed, painting nails, kicking a soccer ball and more. I envisioned TIME to be with these ones that could do no wrong in my eyes and I anticipated the ability to give myself in a way I was unable to as a single mother.
My entrance into this sacred club of grand-parenting was beautiful, more than I could imagine as I cleared my calendar for a month so I could give an extravagant gift to my daughter and her husband. The gift I delighted in giving was that of time, connection, rest and healing. I had the incredible opportunity to spend 4 weeks with this new family cleaning, cooking, holding, and serving so they could bond, heal, and enjoy the early days of parenting without some of the demands of life weighing down.
However, driving home from the airport after saying good-bye to my daughter and her family, tears began to develop on the brim of my eyes. I realized, yet again, the tension of life that is caused by being a single parent/grandparent. The responsibility of rent, utilities, car payment, food, and clothing still weighs on me. I am still the responsible party for all of these things and so much more. Therefore, I have to work. And the demands of a developing non-profit are many. Every morning when my sweet grand-daughter toddled about my house chasing my dog, I found myself preparing for the day and an early departure. Evenings I would rush home to help prepare for an evening dinner; oftentimes missing the normal feeding time so that bedtime could be honored. Another missed opportunity of crawling on the floor, tickling her tummy, singing Raffi songs and more.
In the midst of the busy week, rushing about so that when we had plans to go do fun things I could be available, I didn’t think about what I was missing out on. However, driving back from the airport, my hopes and dreams of being an abundantly available grandma bombarded my mind and sorrow overwhelmed me.
What happened? I have asked time and time again the past few days. I am supposed to be the grandma that gathers up the little bundle of goodness and takes her off while mommy and daddy get some extra rest. I am supposed to be the grandma that takes this yummy ball of sweetness out on walks, to the park to swing and so much more. Every one of those spontaneous moments that I had dreamed were squeezed out by life demands, the need to work and provide for self. Yes, once again I felt the sting of single parenting and I cry out with all the saints under the altar (Revelation 6:10) “HOW LONG, SOVEREIGN LORD, HOLY AND TRUE…”
Over the next weeks I will turn this over in my thoughts before the Lord time and time again. I will ask what I could have done different. I will cry out at the injustice of divorce. But mostly I will ask for His sweet redemption. I will ask Him to redeem the time and moments I missed with my kids and grandchild. I will seek wisdom and understanding in how to be the grandma I long to be in the midst of the reality of life.
And HE WILL come, HE WILL show me the way, HE WILL redeem…Because it’s who HE is. I will miss the mark again over the years. I won’t be capable of being all I desire to be in this arena of life…but I will learn and grow. I will be the best grandma I can be with HIS strength in me.
And as HE does all of this, I will tell the testimony of His faithfulness to others who feel the ache and have to wrestle through the reality of being a single parent/grandparent.
The Journey Continues…
The Life of a Single Mom is a national organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that focuses on seeing no single mom walk alone. The organization serves more than 50,000 single mothers annually from around the United States and more than 2,000 in Greater Baton Rouge through their support group network, outreach event, educational classes, online communities, and more. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com