I will never forget that special afternoon.
My daughter had started dating a young man, whose ex-girlfriend had recently had a baby girl, making him a father. My daughter had asked me several times if they could bring the baby over to meet me. At first I was not thrilled about the thought—knowing that I would most likely fall in love with this little person.
Because I love babies, I knew that this child would win a prominent place in my heart and my life. What worried me was the thought of the two of them breaking up, meaning that I wouldn’t be able to get my baby fix anymore.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I finished a 10-mile run and was sitting down to eat lunch when I heard the door open. Within a few minutes my daughter and her boyfriend came into my office where I was sitting, carrying the most perfect, tiny baby that I had ever laid my eyes on.
They introduced me to the little bundle, and instantly I said goodbye to my heart.
As I picked her up and looked into her perfect blue eyes, all of my indiscretions disappeared. Suddenly I wanted nothing more but to sit and spend all of my time with this baby. Being only a few weeks old, she just looked up and me and yawned, snuggling deep into my arms.
From that moment on she became a permanent member in my life. I watched her over night many times so that the two of them could go out. As she began to grow older, I even started a relationship with her mother, who allowed me to have her several times a week and sometimes all weekend. Since my children were all grown, I had forgotten how fun having a baby in the house was.
That baby girl and I began to do everything together. I took her grocery shopping. We went on vacation several times across the country to visit special places. We made crafts together, spent rainy afternoons watching movies in my bed, baked cookies, and read hundreds of books on the couch.
My favorite part was that as she became a toddler and started talking, I became “Grammy,” a word that I never knew could mean so much.
Her dad and my daughter did eventually end up breaking up but because she had become such an important part of all of our lives, she continued to spend time at our house. She had her own chair in the living room, potty in the bathroom, dresser full of clothes, and seat at the table. She was a family member.
Although the saying goes, “blood is thicker than water,” I tend to say that this is not completely true. There is no way on earth that I could have stronger feelings for a biological grandchild than I do for this little girl. Between the hours that we spent together and all of the activities that we’ve shared, our bond is just as strong as any grandmother and grandchild.
Now she is a big girl and spends most of her time in school. She is the big sister to two other siblings and has become a beautiful and well rounded person. She’s caring for others, shares her things and loves with her whole heart. I’m so proud of the person that she’s becoming.
My only regret about the situation is that I was leary about meeting her at first.
In my defense, I was only in my mid 30s, and hadn’t even considered this type of thing coming up for years. I encourage all parents out there that find themselves in the situation that I was thrown in to keep an open mind. Although you might not have hand picked the boyfriend or girlfriend for your child, or think that opening your home or heart to a baby is a good idea—you need to do it.
It’s not the baby’s choice to be brought into this world and all they want is to be loved.
Spending time with this girl was the best thing that I’ve ever done. Since I had my children at such a young age, I believe that when you are that young you don’t fully appreciate all that they bring to your life. Partly because young mothers are very busy and tired, and also due to the fact that they don’t truly understand all aspects of life yet—sometimes babies don’t seem like a true blessing.
At this stage of my life I fully see what this little girl has brought into my life. There is nothing like going to her Christmas program and hearing her scream “Grammy,” to me once she spotted me in the crowd. Or when I pick her up at the bus stop and almost get knocked over from her running straight at me and surrounding me with a gigantic hug. Life changing moments and times that I’ll never forget.
Never second guess the magical power of a baby. Whether they are born into the family or just brought in by default, love them unconditionally. This little girl taught me how to truly love with a whole heart and how to enjoy the simple things in life. Time with children is time well spent. She gave me the gift of true love and for that I am humbled and will spend the rest of my days returning that favor.
Even if you feel overwhelmed and don’t think that you have any more space in your life for someone else, open up your heart and allow that little erson to take you to a new level. My life was suddenly full of vibrant color and had intense meaning. I became someone’s safety zone and happy place—elating me beyond words.
We always have extra space in our hearts. Sometimes we just don’t realize it until the opportunity arises.
Author: Jill Carr
Image: Stephan Hochhaus / Flickr
Editor: Sara Kärpänen