life lessons, love

The Things No One Tells You


That’s the crib in our sitting room upstairs.  It’s ready and waiting for our first grandchild who is due later this week (of course it’s up to her to decide when she’s ready).  Pretty exciting stuff.  Other than the arrival of one’s own children, there are few other heart-in-your-mouth moments in life.  And I could wax pseudo-poetic on the magnificence of pearly toes and downy ears, that indescribable smell on the back of a baby’s neck, the sensation of little breaths against one’s cheek.

What they don’t tell you is that part of you re-awakens..the part that looks at your child-who-is-now-a-man and remembers how he would cling to you like a little monkey – arms and legs tightly wound around you so that there was no need to hold on to him for he was secure against your body (though you held him just the same).  They don’t tell you that as he anticipates his daughter’s arrival or marvels at his wife’s equanimity and calm or imagines the awesome child that they are going to have, you are left alone with a sense of mild imbalance.  For you can’t pull him onto your lap and remind him that you have been there – you had the experience of awesome children.  Somehow there aren’t words that you can say any longer with the same forgiveness extended – that you’re a mushy, soppy mom who still is completely in love with her kids/men.  And I am watching my son prepare to be a parent.

They don’t tell you that there is something surreal about it all.  How this cycle, as reliable as night following day, moves in a rhythm of its own design.  How you wish and wonder, hope and dream, fret and agonize, invest a love that defies description into years that you feel will be forever (certainly some phases that seemed endless too).  I mentioned this to my sister – ‘when did this happen, Deb?  How did we get here?’  She told me that when I was pregnant, my mother said something similar – though she never mentioned it to me.  Undoubtedly I was far too wrapped up in the experience of becoming a mom to give much thought to her becoming a grandmother.  To think of her children having children.  I wish she was here – if only for me to tell her that I get it.

If there is any dissonance, its feeling so much love that I feel as if the heart can’t hold it all (for some of it must be held back or there’d be no dealing with me – as it is I can be insufferable).   That love?  Oh yes, baby girl it awaits you from so many corners of your life.  But there is a certain love – that love that happens between a parent and a child.  The one you hold onto forever while still letting go – that’s in there too.  And that is the legacy of love you will inherit when you arrive.

“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents can do.  Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children” — Alex Haley…I promise you stardust.


71 thoughts on “The Things No One Tells You”

  1. You brought tears of import to me…the depth of love and and connection between a mother and her sons and hearkening back to a daughter and her mother and the threads between all. Beautiful anticipatory place to be welcoming the newest member of your tribe. Love this. xooxo

  2. This may be the most heart-felt beautiful thing I read all year. How fabulously priceless is your prose! It makes me tingle with excitement for her arrival…and ooohhh that baby scent! Wish you could include it with that prose! Congratulations and best wishes for as few tears and as many giggles as possible throughout her life! xox

    1. Hi Jan, such high praise coming from one who writes as beautifully as you do..Thank you so much. And wow, if we could bottle that baby scent!! There’d be no more stress in the world! So much to look forward to!

  3. I’m delighted by your great news, Mimi! What a lucky baby to have such a fine grandmother. May you both always experience great joy and love in each other’s presence.

  4. Though I have never had the awesome privilege and responsibility that motherhood brings, I feel as though I’ve just been given a ‘peek behind the curtain’ with this wonderful post. Oh honey, as you know, I am so, so happy for you and of course for A & T.

    Although I don’t have my own children, I *do* have a multitude of precious memories of time spent with my grandparents, and oh what magical days they were. I *still* smile when I think of standing on a step stool in my granny’s kitchen, ‘helping her prepare a meal’ (looking back, it HAD to have extended prep time for her by at least a factor of two), or riding round after round in the combine with my grandad, waiting for that precious moment when he’d announce ‘break time’ and we’d stop and share fresh-squeezed lemonade and a Snickers bar.

    You and this lucky little star-kissed girl are embarking on SUCH a wonderful journey, and I wish you both all the love, laughter and joy your hearts can hold. She is so blessed to have you in her corner….

    All there is…xoxox, L

    1. Hi honey – you know how much I love hearing stories of your time with your grandparents, feeling the delight in your memories and how they enveloped you with love. Their love is in all you touch, know that? And it is one of my greatest hopes that one day you and this little girl have the chance to meet…all there is..xox, m

      1. If I can share but a fraction of the love they lavished on me over the years, I will consider myself blessed, and yes, I, too, hope that one day I will meet this precious child…xo, l

  5. Boris did not realize that you had settings…In Russia, women are allowed 1 minute of mushy stuff per calendar year.

  6. For sure there will be stardust. I’m as sure of that as I am that Jack and Dee are watching, smiling, kvelling and nodding knowingly with pride; “how did she get here. Our baby is going to be a grandma?” Mim, no more words, simply tears of joy.

    1. I cant tell you how often the boys speak about my dad – and if I can have half of that impact on my grandhild/ren I will count myself as very lucky…Stardust indeed, and if I can learn how to pull M&Ms out of a child’s ear, I’m home free. love you..xo, m

  7. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful and touching blog today. And how I understand as a mom and a grandmother myself, a love that is incomparable with any other. Thank you for sharing today.

  8. IThank you for this not supposed to tell, but I got a gift yesterday. My younger daughter gave it to me in a gift bag stuffed with tissue. Once I pulled out the tissue, what I saw at the bottom looked like a pair of white, cotton, socks. I pulled out the socks and they unfurled into an adorable, tiny, onesie. I have been crying ever since. Thank you for this post. Congratulations to you! What a journey it all is!

    1. OMG!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a fantastic surprise – and I can totally understand your tears. This is the beginning of a new chapter, one that I know will bring such love and delight for you. We can compare notes when the time comes, Grandma!

      1. Thank you, Mimi! It was such a surprise and her way of telling me was priceless. She videotaped the whole thing. Apparently, my reaction was priceless, as well, and all of my other kids can’t stop watching it. Aidan, my little guy, is only 10 but he’s trying to come up with a good “uncle name.” He wants to learn to change diapers. He’s hysterical! Her baby is the size of a lentil! A lentil! I so love her and that little lentil. As an aside, Boris is hilarious. He reminds me of my four adult sons. We are very blessed women, Mimi! Xo

      2. A perfect lentil I’d say!! I love that your youngest is already on diaper duty – that is so sweet!! I can only imagine your reaction to such a perfect ‘introduction’ – how great that was! And as for my ‘Boris’ – he is very very funny. And when he feels like it, he’s still an awesome hugger too. Blessed women I- indeed we are…xox

  9. “…its feeling so much love that I feel as if the heart can’t hold it all…” And therein is the essence of what makes all of this so beautiful. The love you possess and are looking forward to sharing. Can it get any better? I’m sharing this with my Mom as she is a soon-to-be a first time great-grandmother. She’ll get it… as I suspect it never gets old. Elated for you!

    1. Thank you Eric – certainly these are moments that define ‘miracles’ as no other. I love that your mom is about to enjoy the arrival of her first great-grandchild and congratulations to you as well!!

  10. You have captured the very heart of it Mim…you are ready! I am so excited and happy and I tingle just knowing what’s ahead for you and A. I cannot stop smiling for the images. Enjoy the miracle Mimi….all my love…xoxo

  11. This was just perfect! Two of my friends recently became grandmas and they are glowing with happiness. They are proud of their own children and over the moon with the new additions. Honestly, I’m surprised they give them back. You have so much joy coming your way!! Can’t wait to hear the news about the big arrival. This is one very lucky little angel 😇

    1. No doubt she is an angel…I’m the lucky one I think 😉 Thank you for your wonderful words and congratulations to your friends! I’m sure I’ll have a lot to share when she decides she’s ready to make her appearance. 🙂

  12. What a beautiful post. It makes me think about becoming a mom from a completely different angle for I had not considered viewing the experience through my own mother’s eyes. Congratulations to you all – that little baby girl is one lucky duck!

    1. Thank you!! It would be interesting to ask your mom about the surreal part of this generational circle..It’s wonderful from any angle tho’ – that’s for sure!!

  13. Congratulations to you and all the family on the soon to be baby. I cannot tell you the heartwarming feeling of being a grandmother. Start your engine (I think you have already) and get ready to go shopping with that little girl soon 🙂 Oh the fun you will have 🙂

    1. I can ‘feel’ the delight in your words Angeline! We’re all checking in with each other pretty regularly right now – with tremendous excitement!!

  14. Oh that all babies could be so richly anticipated! She’s arriving into the arms of many and I can feel the love from here – enjoy – but I know you will 🙂 Being Nana is one of my most favorite roles – hugs!

  15. I read your post, then reread it with Adele’s song. Beautiful post. Congratulations. I have two little grandsons and I’m not sure who gets the stardust, them or me.

    p.s. I “borrowed” the Alex Haley quotation and put it on my Truth widget.

  16. “That love that happens between a parent and a child – the one you hold onto forever while still letting go”
    Oh Mimi! This is SO true.
    I am blessed with two beautiful grand-daughters and the love just keeps spilling over.
    I am feeling your love here for your soon-to-be-born grand-daughter.
    Wishing you all the best.

    1. Hi Elizabeth – well Sienna Reese arrived at 2:10 this morning. She is healthy and beautiful and all is well with my daughter-in-law and son. Haven’t slept yet, but will definitely post something within the next few days. Haven’t slept in 24 hours, and the adrenalin is still frolicking through my body – but I’m also at risk of making no sense, so I’ll keep this brief. More to come…Thank you so much for your good wishes..

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