it was many, many years ago, just a bit after they invented the steam engine. march of 1980, to be precise. my 6-year-old son, my boyfriend and i were in a cab with maria gloria, an aging spanish actress who had worked under federico garcia llorca, going the 100 miles or so from santiago de chile to papudo beach. maria gloria said something about her granddaughter, i looked over to my son, and this thought flashed through my head: “i can’t wait to become a grandmother!”
well, the wait’s almost over. six weeks from today is the expected date of birth of my first grandchild!
many feelings, thoughts, ideas, hopes, fears come up as i contemplate this event – perhaps the most momentous event in my life right after the birth of my own three children.
“three children? but i’ve barely outgrown my teenage pimples!” – sometimes that thought crosses my mind; it probably comes from the same source that is surprised when she sees wrinkles and flabby skin in the mirror. apparently that part of me has missed out on catching up on a few decades. the thought of grandchildren just puts a completely bewildered look on her face.
then there is the part of me that fervently hopes that she will be a good grandmother, that all these years of pent-up hopes and dreams will not just go poof, and some evil magic wand will make me disinterested in my grandchild.
and the memories. the memories of spending time with my own grandparents – something that has shaped me tremendously. my grandfather teaching me to play the violin, taking us on long hikes, and making sure that we carry every last bit of eggshell to the compost heap. my grandmother playing schubert lieder with us and making endless jars of rosehip jam from the fruit that my grandfather would cart in with his trusted old bicycle. sitting on my opa’s lap, a man with beautiful white hair; a faint and magical memory. my oma stirring my voracious love of reading by indiscriminately heaping comic books, poetry and strange religious books on me; and showering her fierce maternal love on my firstborn even though he was, errr, born out of wedlock (an occasion of great sighing for her).
will i be able to bestow similar memories on my grandchild?
but most of all, i’m simply excited! my daughter’s belly is getting bigger and bigger (my god, how big WILL it get??), she and her partner are building a loving nest for this amazing new human being, the baby shower is next week, i’m going to be there when she gives birth – sometimes i feel like a hysterical housewife in one of those home makeover shows, i just want to cover my mouth and scream, “ohmygodohmygodohmygod!!!”
after 27 years, a dream is finally coming true. maybe not such a bad occasion to go a bit overboard …
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