My very precious and innocent grandson received a letter from his other grandmother. She is incredibly sweet, loving and intuitive. She finds newspaper clippings that she knows he will like, writes a cute note or letter and mails them to him on a regular basis. One came just the other day.
It contained information about things he loves, wild animals and scientific trivia that boggles the mind. He, at ten years old, understands and treasures each of them. He has a special wooden box in his bedroom where he keeps this sort of thing.
After S. read the letter and every word of the newspaper articles, he sighed deeply and said in a dreamy voice, “Grandma A. is the best grandmother in the world.”
Recycled Moms, I honestly must say that a sword pierced my heart and ripped into my soul when I heard those words. I am weeping right now as I write this. For a very brief moment in time I felt despair fill my heart and soul.
I sincerely do not resent her relationship with S. Indeed I am thrilled they have such a deep connection. I just wish I could do those things and be seen as the greatest grandmother in the world. That will never happen though because I am the one who makes him clean his room, scrub the toilet, do homework and am the one who rations out video games and computer time.
Yet the better part of this love is that I am the one he runs to when he is frightened or in pain, the one who creates stories and songs for him. Only I get to smell his little boy scent after he is sound asleep, holding his Baby Lambie tightly in those firm little sun kissed arms.
I am the one who makes his favorite foods and knows which brand of orange juice he loves. He gives sleepy good morning hugs to me and we have our secret silly sayings. “Right? Right….toe,left toe, big toe, little toe and don’t forget the stinky toe!
It is indeed a bitter but better love that we Recycled Moms receive. We do not and never will have the traditional grandmother/grandchild relationship but what we have is more precious than anything that can be measured.
We are the security that helps these children sleep well at night. We are the person they know will never leave. Though we must dish out discipline and structure, enforce rules and make them do homework, we are also the mother they crave. We are the father they never knew and yet long for. We are the one who is showing love and teaching them to love in return and are the foundation upon which they are building their lives and future.
For these beloved grandchildren, we are mother more than grandmother. We are familiar and not exciting; they trust us because we are forever here. The other grandmothers have a special place in the hearts of the children entrusted to our care while we have the chores and the privilege of raising a new generation, one that will be better than the previous one that abandoned God’s greatest gifts, These children, soon to become adults, will achieve more, will be a more productive member of society that never forgets the one who sacrificed everything to gain just one smile. That smile carries our heart forever and ever while we love them more every single day. As the years fly past, we age and youth departs quickly, leaving us scarred and pocked with memories. The cost never matters however, is never important but those arms that hug us every day matter more than the world itself.
It is difficult sometimes and the short sweet bitterness leaves an acrid aftertaste on a hurting heart but the payoff is stupendous. The road we walk is full of heart bruising stones yet we will never consider taking the easier path. This is a bitter, better love, one chosen intentionally and one that gives much more than it ever demands.