Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Art of Grandparenting

My essay, To All Grandparents in Waiting, is in the anthology, The Art of Grandparenting (Nightengale Press) which will be out in September, just in time for Grandparents Day. Here is the link to the first press release about it.

Here's a sneak preview of the beginning of my essay:

To Grandparents-in-Waiting
Of all the things I wasn't expecting when I had a granddaughter it was that she wouldn't like me.
I knew just how it began. I was proud that my daughter, Heather, was nursing Rebecca as I had her. I enjoyed my granddaughter’s snorty sounds as she fed and I loved when her tiny dimpled hand rose to pat my daughter’s breast. But there wasn’t much time to bond with her. I was onlyhanded the baby when Heather and her husband, Jesse, went out. Putting the baby to bed was stressful to them. They had devised an elaborate and rigid bedtime ritual and didn’t want any deviation from it. The two of them were so sleep-deprived and frazzled that it was hard to say anything to them without getting into a big fight. They were in terror over whether or not she would sleep.
I remembered how it felt to be a new mother and want to do everything perfectly. When Heather was an infant I was so worried when she cried that I carried her on me in a snugglee even when I vacuumed the apartment.
“Put her down,” my mother-in-law used to say on every visit. “You have to learn to let her cry sometimes or you’ll wear yourself out.”
Maybe my mother-in-law was right, but I not only didn’t listen to her, with my hormones surging, I hotly resented her for saying it. Worse, when she babysat and I left breast milk in bottles for a feeding, my mother-in-law bought Heather formula instead.
“I wasn’t sure your milk was fresh,” she’d told me.
I felt like banishing her from our house forever.

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