The Dance of Parenting: Happy Father’s/Mother’s Day to a Son and Daughter-in-law from Grammy!
Here we are wedged between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day which is the perfect time to talk about this magical thing that happens when your child grows up and has one of their own.
Having a grandchild has been an incredible and amazing experience for me. Just seeing my son Ernest holding his son Trey for the first time is a moment I’ll never forget. And, not surprisingly, he’s a fantastic father. I always knew that being a “Grammy” was going to be way more fun than motherhood, what with all the perks and none of the sleep deprivation! But one thing I didn’t realize was how deeply grateful and protective I would feel toward my daughter-in-law Jessie. I have been so moved watching her find her own rhythm and balance in the dance of becoming a Mom. She is as wonderful a mother as I expected her to be. To Jessie I say: “Welcome to the tribe! Thank you for being open and patient with all the “motherly advice” I’ve imparted to you, and for teaching me a few things and bringing me up-to-date in this era decades after my own baby was born.”
Jessie is a talented musician, writer, graphic designer, and music teacher. I know from my own experience as a young woman, that throwing “and mother” into one’s identity, can feel very surreal at first as every day slides off the page in new baby world!
I’ve also appreciated how becoming a father has changed my son almost overnight. He has stepped fully into being a father and that has grounded him. Ernest is a working musician, music teacher, producer, author and creator of a new teaching method in development. Seeing Ernest and Jessie juggling the diaper bag with their musical instruments and schedules has brought back a lot of memories of my own early days of parenthood. No one can really take your place in this. Even if you had a dozen nannies and Grannies on hand you are needed and irreplaceable hook-line-and-sinker defined by this all-encompassing spell of love for your child.
My pregnancy in 1980-81 coincided with being dropped from Capitol Records and losing my publishing deal. I was thrilled to be having a baby but I remember feeling bewildered by the professional shift and thus divorced from my former self, like I’d never get back to being an artist and songwriter, my creativity having been capped off and redirected into making homemade teething biscuits and decorating the baby’s room and feeling like a milk factory. Looking back now I wouldn’t trade those first precious years of being able to concentrate on my child.
And little did I know, years later, when teaching songwriting and creativity workshops, that I’d cite those three years when I wasn’t writing as some of the biggest growth I ever had as a human being and a songwriter. So much was happening deep inside of me because of motherhood, but it would take a while until I knew that.
Becoming a parent is such a major life-changing deal, and every new Mom & Dad soon learns that being in the trenches with a new baby is nothing like what’s portrayed in the sunny soap commercials. It is as wonderfully overwhelming as anything you’ll ever experience in life.
A space cracks open in the center of your heart that will be filled with all the joy and sorrow you can bear as you shepherd your child through life. And then at every stage they pass through, you get to learn all the previously unimaginable ways of letting go! Of course I’m madly in love with my grandson who is going on two already. I babysit every chance I get! And I am also aware of a return of that familiar ache of loving a child so deeply, wanting everything for him and wishing I could guarantee him no pain in this life! But his raising is out of my hands and up to the good set of parents he’s been given.
When Trey arrives at Grammy’s house everything else stops and it’s all about fun time. As a young harried new mom raising my little one I didn’t have the luxury of just focusing on playing with my son every waking hour. That’s the main perk of grand mothering. That, and the sweet echo of holding and snuggling a young one in the precious time that I get to spend with him. Seems like not that long ago I was giving my baby Ernest one of my famous “kitchen sink” baths and now Trey has already outgrown the kitchen sink!
So happy Father’s Day Ernest and happy Mother’s Day, Jessie, and to all the new Dads & Moms out there! From the trenches of the early parenting years it’s hard to believe this but kids, it all goes by SO fast! Get ready to run and while they grow in leaps and bounds!
Check out the new “Family”Gallery on my site!
Upon re-entering a world where there’s a baby I get to play with, I was curious to see if anything had changed so I started doing a little reading and boning up on baby care. Wow. I only wish some of these books had been around when I was learning to raise a child! I think I had good instincts, but the information about the development of the brain and what is reasonable to expect at different stages of growth would have saved my kid and I a lot of unnecessary stress. These should be required reading for every parent!!be sure and check out the reading list below. Both of these excellent books were written by Daniel L. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson.