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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Grandmother Effect

Here I am in the Detroit airport, delayed. Apparently the crew forgot to show up. What are these people thinking? Don’t they know that I have a grandson being born any minute now?? He’s already nine pounds and, the doctor said, and he has big shoulders like his father and grandfather, so I figure he’s ready to come but is just waiting for his grandmothers to get there to greet him.

Baby Pitt and his mother Aviva

Grandmothering is the subject of some flashy new studies that show that it’s good for all generations to have grandmothers around. Did we need a study to know that? Other cultures know this, and fully respect grandparents, realizing that there is a specific purpose for the generations being together: the elders get to share their life experience and wisdom with the little ones, parents get some much-needed help with childcare, and the babies learn that the world is full of big people who know for a fact how miraculous they are.

I used to listen to my friends talking—no, glowing—about becoming grandparents. I have to admit I didn’t get it. I loved seeing babies and could smile silly smiles and coo with the best of them, but I didn’t really understand what they were talking about.

I had to experience for myself the feelings that came up when I witnessed my own DNA in the form of a small, blanketed bundle. And while changing a really messy diaper and eye contact was first made (okay, sign me up for diaper duty). And the first time there was a genuine smile meant just for me.

Something happens in the heart—literally. When I’m with my granddaughter I feel my heart glow and grow in some subtle way that I hadn’t felt since holding my own new babies. I don’t know if there are studies for that, but I know it’s real. New parents, ask your own parents if that isn’t their experience too—I bet it is if they stop to feel it.

And so, Delta Airlines, I really have to be there when he comes. I’ll let you all know if I make it in time!

1 comment:

Abigail said...

Dearest Jane,
I hope you make it in time! We are so excited about this baby boy's arrival! Please, please let us know when YOU finally arrive! Love you so much and cannot wait to see you. Gail

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