It is safe to say I am at an age where the wonders of life abound, the extension of family is plentiful, and every year that passes brings more joy. For most, being a grandparent is one of the most well-earned and well-deserved rites of passage. This holds true to my life. After living, what I can only describe as turbulent single motherhood, I have earned the right to enjoy my grandchildren. Watching my family expand rebuilds a purpose and vigor I have been missing.
As a young woman, I became wrapped up in my new identity as a new mom and wife. I lost myself somewhere in the mix of a transitioning lifestyle. Regardless of my divorces, I not once allowed that to play a role in how I raised my children, or enjoyed them. Staying single for a full decade was truly a blessing. Years later, my daughters relieved me of my mommy identity, and provided me with a new one. I can’t say that I was prepared to be a Grandma, but I was going to be damned if I didn’t embrace and enjoy it. I welcomed the expansion of my family. The more the merrier has been my way of life. I just imagined how wondrous the holidays, birthdays, and family functions could be.
All of this Grandma business turned out to be amazing and I have loved my new role as the Matriarch. It has been a wonderful journey. I have a third grandnugget arriving in June, and I am truly thrilled to have another baby to snuggle. However, my daughter is also a big baby. I am fairly sure I should write another blog about this and title it, My Daughter Pregnant is Worse Than My Husband Sick. My daughter is a grown married woman with a toddler, living on her own, so explain to me why she thinks she is five years old again? I have to giggle to myself because, secretly I love that she needs me still, but the other part of me rolls her eyes and thinks, “Girl, you are too damn grown for this.” What does a mom do when she has a needy pregnant daughter with a toddler, whose husband is getting deployed for the entire pregnancy? How do Grandpa and Grandma handle this?
We move her back home.
I don’t mind it though. I am looking forward to having my grandson and my daughter back. I am so excited to have a reason to decorate for the holidays again. I can’t say that I am going to enjoy stepping on toddler toys and Legos, but I do look forward to my grandson waking me up in the morning to greet me. There is an intrinsic set of emotions that comes along with loving your baby’s baby. I think, for most, the idea of the new edition might be the most thrilling part of all of this, but for me it is actually spoiling my grandson. I am a big believer in going to a baby shower with special gifts for the other children in the household. Have you ever observed a sibling’s excitement to assist with opening presents for the new baby, just to become disappointed that the gift is a teething ring? Perhaps, you have seen them shoved off to the side and told to be quiet?
How do you mitigate the jealousy? You include them. My plan for the new edition is to not only embrace the idea, but show my grandson how to do the same. I will take him shopping with me, let him choose items for the baby, and find a little something for himself too. He will help us build the swing, or the crib. Making my grandson a part of the process is important to me. He is as clingy as his needy mommy, so this ought to be fun. My daughter requires a ton of affection when she is pregnant, and low and behold, her son needs lots of affection as well. Like I always say, “Congratulations, you gave birth to yourself.”
In a nut shell, for me, receiving a new edition is welcomed. However, acquiring the old editions is also a well-received notion. I have a dream, which I hope to aspire and accomplish in the next couple of years. I want to move North West and purchase a ton of property. I would love to build a custom home, but still have enough land to build smaller homes. I would love to build a meeting hall as well. If this is beginning to sound like a compound, then you are getting the visual in its accurate depiction.
Yes, I want a family piece of land and a beautiful building for holiday dinners, birthday parties, weddings, and showers. I want my family close, but not living with me forever. I want to give my grandchildren a place to climb trees, run, and play. You see, with every new edition to our family tree comes the joy and blessings that I thrive on. As the Matriarch of the family, I will continue to nurture, provide, and empower my family to engage, support, celebrate, and love one and other, always and forever. Supporting family is important to me, and the new grandbaby only brings me closer to my dreams.
So, my Lovelies that brings me to this conclusion and a set of rules, which we live by. You may find some or all may apply to you, or even aid you in the expansion of your own family. Most transitions can be difficult because, they change the way we think, live, and might disrupt our routines. How we evolve and adapt makes all the difference, not only for our own mental health, but for our family’s as well.
Rules of Family
Regardless of your opinion, or anyone else’s, always support your family members. Even when you feel that they are not making wise choices, try and remember you messed things up at one point too. We are all human and everyone needs to know they have love and support in times of peril, trouble, good times, and the best times. Never turn your back on family when they need you the most. Knock yourself off of that soap box you enjoy preaching on, and humble yourself. No one is perfect. Think of a time when you wished someone was there for you, or someone would just be an open ear without judgement. Sometimes venting is needed without opinions or advice, there is wisdom in silence and understanding.
2. ALLOW FAILURE & MISTAKES TO TAKE PLACE
The best educator is the failure in mistakes that we make. I have never seen a family who did not screw and mess things up from time to time. It’s alright to completely botch up plans, life paths, marriages, parenting, education and higher learning, career paths, and whatever day to day activities you encounter. The best part of fouling up great intentions, is that you learn valuable life lessons, which no one can teach. If you nag, harp, or bitch at someone to execute life the way you believe they should, you’ll only be left frustrated and alone in your plight.
3. ALWAYS HAVE AN OPEN DOOR POLICY
It does no good to close your figurative or literal door in a family member’s face. Sure, there are a few bad seeds out there that I wouldn’t allow in my home. Those are the exception, however, and not the rule. Those may consist of years of addiction, theft of family items, physical and mental abuse, and of course…murderers. Surely, these can be extreme cases that warrant good judgment on the part of the particular family member whose door is open. I am not at all calling for anyone to tattoo the word sucker on their forehead, but compassion does go a long way. Oddly enough, I have encountered all of the exceptions above within my family. Toxic relationships are not necessarily worth saving or supporting, I understand that. However, keeping your door open to those who are not the exception is valuable. You may teach that family member/s something. Conversely, you may learn something from them as well. We all need each other, and there may be a time when you need an open door.
4. WITHOLD YOUR JUDGEMENT
It is easy to kick people when they are down and their circumstances are bleak, while you may be doing well in your current situation. It is even easier to feel power over them because, you can giveth and taketh away. You are not empowered by holding the carrot in another’s face, while preying upon their weaknesses and vulnerability. Should you open your door, heart, and give the support that your family member needs, than do so without placing blame, judgement, or know all in their path. Guidance through wisdom and experience is best. Lashing out with advice will only decrease confidence to make better choices. I have found that in my life, the best way to help someone get passed the trials and tribulations that they are going through, is through tales of my own experiences. It feels good to know we are not alone in the choices and decisions we make. I may have done the same silly thing, and perhaps, had the same outcome. I chose to share my experiences in life, rather than sharing my wild opinion on how my family member should live their lives.
5. LOVE ONE AND OTHER ALWAYS
It can be a very lonely and prudent place when one feels as if nobody understands, will listen, will pass judgement, or flat out does not care. Perception can become one’s subjective reality. Depression, anxiety, fear, and suicide may become outcomes of your family member’s life. Joy and happiness comes from acceptance, compassion, understanding, perseverance through support, and family togetherness. Never leave a room upset, go to bed angry or hurt, or slam the figurative and literal door in someone’s face before trying these simple family rules. Love one and other through great times and not so great times. Never give up on each other. Believe in one and other, and beautiful things can happen.
6. NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU COME FROM
I never forget that I grew up poor. Of course, not everyone has my story, so I will share with you what I keep in mind. You will just have to tweak it to fall in line with your upbringing. For me, I was raised around severe addiction, murder, drug dealing, and mental abuse, but my childhood was not awful. My parents never made me feel like we were poverty stricken. I never wanted for anything and my mom made a trip to the thrift store exciting. I spent a ton of quality time taking walks, going to the park and feeding the ducks. I hung out in the front yard, lying on the lawn, and concentrating on making the clouds move with my dad. That was his superpower and I was told I had it. It is because of the way my parents never allowed me to feel victimized by our circumstances, or to feel less than, and most of all that they taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to, that I embrace these family rules.
As my family continues to expand, and the new editions continue to come, I will welcome everything that comes with that. My heart and home will always have the space to accommodate more little ones, even when the little ones and big ones who are not blood related. Bring on the fortunes and misfortunes, the love and misery, the good, bad, and the ugly. Together we stand, untied in our love, home, and faithfulness. Matters of the heart, soul, and family are the center of our world that should ground us in who we are and will potentially become.
Until next time my Lovelies, here is to the expansion of family! CHEERS!