This past weekend saw yet another milestone happen in our lives: Mr. Ashbury and I became great-grandparents. Yes, we’re young for that status. But we became grandparents young, too. I was 37 and he was 39 when our first grandchild was born. Now we’re great-grandparents, and that’s amazing.
My daughter is a 35 year old grandmother. She has a bit of my grandmother in her, because she has decreed that she is to be known as “Nana” since, she said, “grandma” just sounds too old. No, I didn’t smack her, but only because she informed me that I am now to be known in the family as “GG”.
I can recall my mom telling me how my dad was annoyed with his mother at one point. By all accounts a vain woman, she apparently promised my brother and sister treats if, when she took them out anywhere, they would call her “nanny” instead of grandma. My dad wasn’t pleased. “Nanny”, my father had said, was the term given to a paid employee charged to look after children. Apparently he retaliated by referring to her, to my siblings, as “your father’s mother.”
My daughter isn’t vain, in fact, quite far from it. And she actually possesses a lot of my mother’s personality traits, too. The most notable of these is that she is a great believer in personal space, and doesn’t often wax sentimental over anything.
And while hugs from my mother were few and far between, I have to say that my daughter, as an adult, is exactly the same.
When I was raising my children, because my mom had not been one to hug or say I love you very much, I ensured that I did that every day with my kids. It was a top priority for me, and I never really cared if it seemed that there was a part of me trying to make up my hug deficit from my own mother that way.
But as an adult, my daughter is parsimonious when it comes to displays of affection. And not just towards me, either.
So imagine my surprise when, a few weeks ago, she arrived as she often does through the course of any given day, and then came right up to me, and threw her arms around me and gave me a huge, really quite wonderful hug.
“Thank you. What was that for?” I asked.
“You refurbished that bassinette for me!”
That made me laugh. Allow me to explain. When I was expecting my first child, my mother brought out of storage a wicker bassinette on a wicker stand. She told me that her mother had given it to her, for her first born. That was in 1944, and I have no idea if it was new then, but likely it was.
My mom used it for all three of us, and gave it to me for my first child. My mother-in-law and her sister-in-law decorated it – fashioning a padded inside, covering it in pretty baby-type material. This “decorating” was complete with a hood made of a pretty blue cotton with little white “pompoms” dangling from the edge.
I used the bassinette for all of my children, and then, put it into storage. When my daughter was expecting her son, I got it out and re-decorated it. I’m not much at sewing or such, but I was able to do a pretty good job of that. The only other things I’ve ever made in my life were my kids Halloween costumes.
My daughter gained a whole new perspective and appreciation when she—who ironically is good at sewing and such—attempted to redecorate the bassinette for her first grandchild. It took her hours to complete and, she said, she considered quitting more than once. But she didn’t, and I’m glad of that. That bassinette is more than a bassinette, it’s a family tradition. It represents one more thing now, too.
It’s a rite of passage. They come in the most unusual ways sometimes, don’t they?