One week ago today, on the first morning of a much-anticipated four-day vacation in Disneyland with all of our children and their significant others, our oldest son’s wife handed me a card. At first I thought it was an early Mother’s Day card, but then I saw my husband’s name was also on the card. With suspicion I opened the envelope and delicately pulled out the card that had beautiful cut-paper flowers on the front. I didn’t even read the words as I opened the card. I saw the picture, screamed, then hugged my daughter-in-law and my son. The picture? It was an ultrasound image! They’re having a baby and we’re going to be grandparents.
I’ve been waiting for this, for quite some time. I am old enough, I am wise enough and I am ready. I have plans for being an awesome grandma. I have several pieces of small wooden furniture put away waiting to create a child-size living room (hmm, maybe I need a small kitchen cabinet, too). I’ve saved all our favorite books from my children’s childhood, waiting for the chance to sit and rock a child while reading a beloved book. I even have a Mickey Mouse themed bedroom at Toad Hall, our forever home. Yet, along with my overwhelming excitement and joy for my son and daughter-in-law, I’m also realizing this is a non-age-related marker of aging. While I did not physically age as a result of their announcement, I did age as I suddenly went from being a mom (a title I’ve held for more than 30 years) to being a grandma. I don’t feel any different, I don’t look any different, but suddenly there is another branch shooting off our family tree, another generation pushing up my place in our family’s lineage. As if to signify this change, when we walked into Disneyland that morning, my daughter-in-law dutifully collected each person’s Park-Hopper Pass for safekeeping, a task I have done inside the Park’s gates every time we’ve visited. I teased my daughter-in-law about taking over, but it’s actually quite significant – with this new generation she, and our other children when it’s their time, will become the ones in charge, the parents. We will be the grandparents – no longer in charge, just along for the ride. I expect it to be a wild, fun, and joyful ride – an E-Ticket ride, “Grandma Toad’s Wild Ride”!