Nothing warms the heart like the love of a child, at least nothing I can remember.  I have guarded my heart for years to avoid the pain of not having children in my life.  It has been easier to avoid it completely than to suffer.

As most of you know I was not able to have children and adoption was not an option in those days for many reasons.

When my first husband and I lived in Germany in the early ‘80’s, we were very close friends with a couple that lived next door.  When they had a little boy I was lucky enough to babysit him, and Tom and I became his Godparents.  Little Tommy (that was his real name, not a fantasy name I gave him – I am not totally insane!) was a dream come true for me.  I got to fulfill all my mothering needs and I enjoyed every minute.

It was during this time that I lost my 4th baby and learned that I was not going to be able to have children of my own.  As heartbreaking as that was for me, little Tommy helped heal that wound.  Somehow I lost sense of reality and allowed myself to become too wrapped up in the fantasy.

When Tommy’s dad was transferred back to the United States I was devastated.  I dreamed of him every night, I heard him calling my name (he called me Mimi), I saw him everywhere we went.  I missed him so much all I could do was cry.  It was like a death all over again.

My depression intensified to the point that I couldn’t go anywhere that children would be present.  I just could not deal with other people having what I wanted so badly.  Seeing a pregnant woman even sent me into a tailspin.

Finally, in order to find a way to live my life again, I had to cut off relationships with children.  I was not mean to anyone but I would not let children into my heart ever again.  People who had children could not be our friends.  That was the only way I knew to deal with the pain and sadness.  That worked rather well for more than 30 years.  Up to now I have lived content without children.

This past week, John and I went to Virginia to visit his son Sean and his family. Sean and his wife Melissa have 2 children.  I have held them at arm’s length for many reasons.  First, I am John’s wife but not his son’s mother and second, we live in Florida and they live in Virginia so we rarely get to see them.  I do not really have a relationship with Sean; how can we get to know each other when there is so much distance?  And these children have Grandmother’s that are active in their lives and love them very much.  Why confuse the issue?  I am just John’s wife.  I am not a grandmother, that honor rightly belongs to the ones they have.  And, I know if anything happens to John I would never see them again.  I mean, why would we?  There would be no reason.

So how come I came home yesterday full of joy and love for these two little ones like I have never known.  How on earth did these two kids steal my heart from me?   Somehow on this trip I became a Grandmother!

As I said, I have tried to hold them at arm’s length, not pushing myself on them.  I waited for them to come to me.  I understand kids have to warm up to people and I never like it when parents make their kids give hugs and kisses when they don’t feel the need.  It is confusing for them.

Aiden, the seven-year old, was talking at dinner one night and said he had five grandparents and asked his mom how many she had.  Later I told Melissa that I didn’t think of myself as a grandmother.  I didn’t explain why, it was just a statement.

A couple of days later I was teaching Hannah the name that Aiden gave me years ago, MeeMoo.  When Hannah said it I was thrilled.  I am not sure she actually made the connection to me but it really didn’t matter.  She said it!

I know I will have to tread carefully because I will go “all in” too soon, but I am learning that protecting my heart also robs it of a love that is sweet and pure.

I might need guidance from my friends that are Grandma’s.  I am new at this and will need to know the rules.  But then again maybe not knowing the rules will be better for me.  I will be myself and that is really all I have to give right?



9 thoughts on “WHAT IS A GRANDMA?

  1. Marilyn,
    I can understand why you want to guard your heart, but remember, you have so much to give! I remember when you came home from Germany after Stephanie was born and how much you helped with her. I remember the beautiful blue outfit you brought from Germany; it was one of my favorites. My girls still refer to you as Aunt Marilyn and that will never change. You have a loving heart and the best of hugs. God has blessed you with the ability to listen to others, and to eloquently and openly share your heart. God’s light shines brightly through you and the best thing is you are still so humble and your soul so beautiful. Those “grandbabies” are blessed to have you in their lives. Although you may not fully understand God’s plan as it relates to your relationship with them, rest assured it will be to His glory; so your heart may rest in His peace as you walk this new path.

    • thanks so much. I have been praying for the “gifts of the spirit” to lead me, this is a direction I never expected. But I will follow and be grateful for new feelings. My life takes interesting turns, that is for sure!

  2. omg – i knew of your history with your babies but never knew the ” rest” of the story and how you were with kids now- you are about to have the time of your life loving and getting love in return from some very special little ones- you and the kids adre lucky to have each other – I am so very happy for you !

    • thanks Karen. John asked me as he read the post if I had ever told this story before. I didn’t remember one way or the other if I had. Funny, it is just part of my life. Another onion peel removed.

  3. I must say you are a powerful writer and you have had powerful experiences. There are people in my life who have had similar experiences, so soft tears did come as I read your story.
    Children are special in so many ways! They are so accepting and have such pure feelings available to all that we adults need the reminders like Jesus did when he told the apostles to let the children come to Him. You know the verse. Certainly the children in your life have seen that love in you and have come to you.
    How blessed you are! Yes, you waited for them to come to you, a sure sign of love on both of your parts!

  4. Well, Marilyn, if you are reading my stories, you know what my guides tell me all the time, “Just love them.” So I tell you the same, “Just love them,” and be so grateful that God put them in your life to help heal this pain. Just love them. hugs, pat

  5. A beautiful post, Marilyn. You’re so open and generous, I can’t imagine children not loving you. You never know how you’ll impact a child’s life. I can remember many people from my childhood that were not related to me, but who enriched my life in ways I’m sure they never suspected. None of us can ever have too many people who care about us and love us!

    I’m not a child, but I’m so glad you came into my life! It’s funny how things work out!

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