By: Joy S.
On March 15, 1983, at 7:23 pm, the doctor handed me this tiny human and at that point, my life began. From the time I was 11 or 12, I knew the thing I wanted to do most with my life was be a mom. And a wife but that didn’t work out as well. But being a mom has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and my biggest accomplishment. Having Sarah and her brother RJ, has brought purpose to my life and immeasurable happiness.
When looking back, I never really thought about being a Gramma until Sarah was maybe 20 or so. I used to tease her that I wanted to be a Gramma before I was 50. Then she told me she didn’t like kids and was never having any. And you know what? I was ok with that. Her choice, her body, her life. I was ok with just having my kids and now their spouses. Women would tell me all the time… "Being a Gramma is SO great!! It’s a shame you won’t be one". I would just say that it was their choice and I was content with that. I was still a Mom. Nothing would change that.
Then Sarah had to go and change her mind. And then hands me a t-shirt that said "Future Grandma... Finally". All of a sudden… IT’S ON!!
And by it… I mean the worry that you have as a Mom, has now morphed into something larger. I now worry about her AND her unborn baby. I worry about her health and worry that one of those horrible things you hear will happen to her. So many horror stories. I worry that she’ll miscarry early. I worry that something bad will happen and she’ll miscarry later. I worry that she’s driving and someone will hit her. I worry that she’s walking around on ice and will fall and hurt her and the baby. I worry that during delivery something will go wrong and the baby won’t make it. Or she won’t!! And I worry if something unspeakable happens, will I be strong enough for the both of us so I can help her through an awful time?
I worry about her emotional health too. Does she REALLY want this baby? She never wanted kids. Is she only doing this because that man she married wants one? (Hi, Brandon! Love you!) If she’s only doing this for him, what’s going to happen when she finds out how tough an infant can be on you? Is she going to get depressed and angry and feel trapped?
Then on top of it all, she didn’t have an easy pregnancy. She had every symptom known to man and you know as a mom, you want to spare your child any hurt or discomfort and all I could do was stand by and helplessly watch. I had no words of wisdom, no real idea of how to help her. My own pregnancies were a piece of cake. I’m one of those women that women hate. No sickness, very quick easy deliveries. I am SO grateful to her sister and all her girlfriends for helping her in all the ways I couldn’t.
But then, on February 9, 2014 about 6:30 am I got the call. She says, “Mom… you ready to be a Gramma??” Oh. My. God!! After a terrifying 4 hour drive in about 6 inches of snow (in a Mustang), I get to the hospital to find her sitting up and cheerful! I’m like what the hell! She’s not really in labor! She had gotten her epidural and it was like magic for her. Even after we sat there awhile, and even when it was time for her to push, she still kept telling the nurses her pain level was about a 2! Incredible! But after a miserable pregnancy, I was so happy that at least this was going well.
At about 1:30 or so, I left the room so she and Brandon could greet their child together and share this special moment intimately. But let me tell you… what a looooong wait that was in the waiting room. Again more worry. Is the delivery going ok? Is she in a lot of pain? Will she be ok? Will the baby be ok? She really wants a boy. Will she still be happy if it’s a girl?
After what seemed like a lifetime, Brandon came out and said… "IT’S A BOY!!!" We all screamed!!! I’m sure everyone on that floor heard us. Then it hit me. I’m a GRAMMA!! I have a GRANDSON!! In fact, I kept standing there repeating that… I have a grandson! I have a GRANDSON! Henry Joseph Hartley! I just couldn’t get over it. Then I finally got to see him and hold him and Oh my Goodness! What a perfect face! He was absolutely beautiful!
Then the fun starts. It sounds kind of mean but I could never picture Sarah as a mom. I mean, babies are messy and noisy and lots of work! They pee and poop and spit up and drool. And here is my OCD, fashionista daughter- cheerfully wiping off spit up. Wiping off drool WITH HER HAND! Changing messy diapers without even gagging! Ok, at least not much. In other words… she’s a MOM! She LOVES that little boy so much and watching her with him warms my heart. She’s a great mommy. She’s fun and playful and loves nothing more than having him napping on her chest. A couple of times I’ve started to make suggestions about how to interact with him and heck… she’s way ahead of me. So now I just sit back and watch her and Brandon be parents. I also love the pure delight on Henry’s face when I’m watching him and he sees his parents walk into the room. He loves them so much!
I don’t see Henry as often as I wish I could since we don’t live that close and then work and life gets in the way. Thankfully, with all the modern technology, I get plenty of pictures, videos and FaceTime so I don’t feel like I’m missing too much although it’s not the same as being there. And then when I get to be with him, I spend my time wisely trying to teach him things that will annoy his parents. That’s my job as a Gramma right? To do crazy things and let the parents deal with it later? To spoil him? To let him do things (within reason) that he can’t do at home? If that’s the case… I’M IN!
But mostly, I’m just so grateful that I get the chance to love him with all my heart! I’m very thankful that for whatever reason, they changed their minds and they have this beautiful little boy. He’s fantastic, and those women were right… being a Gramma is fantastic too!!
Joy S. is an insurance representative in Ohio and most importantly, Sarah's mom and Henry's Gramma. When she isn't talking to Sarah (many, many times per day) you can find her on a vacation in Florida with her boyfriend or knitting blankets for local charities. She enjoys reading, knitting, football, and watching Henry videos over and over again.