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Watching my daughter become a mother is an amazing gift

With every month that my grandchild grows, I gaze at my daughter in utter amazement.

Watching my daughter become a mother is an amazing gift

"Every time I touch my growing belly, I feel like I am connecting with my baby. She answers me in tiny kicks and rolls. This is my seventh month so she squirms a lot, moving from side to side. For now, this special bond is only shared by us. Only I know when my baby sleeps, moves, and kicks.


She is nestled beneath my heart, where she joyfully lays all day long. My big bump reminds me on a daily basis how lucky I am to be a mama. Soon, I will present my baby to the world, and I will have to relinquish my exclusive rights. It makes me a bit sad to think of not having my baby all to myself. She will grow and eventually find independence, with so many factors influencing her.

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I hope that I will be a good mom."

I wrote this in my pregnancy journal on February 5, 1987.

On December 8, 2017, my daughter and her husband presented me with a beautifully wrapped box as an early Christmas gift. I eagerly opened it and was immediately confused by what l saw.

Inside the box was a baby onesie that read, "Grandma and Grandpa, I can't wait to see you in June." I couldn't even process those words. For such little text, they held enormous significance.

I remember thinking: This means my daughter is pregnant.

This means I am going to be a grandmother!

A grandmother for the first time. I felt like my life had all of a sudden changed from regular, muted colors, to the most magnificent, vibrant colors of the rainbow. Joy leapt from my whole body as I stood there holding the baby’s onesie— I started jumping up and down without regard to how awkward I looked. I couldn’t control it!

I then turned my attention to my daughter, my baby, who even as a married woman, had that small little girl smile that I loved so much. The realization that my child would become a mother herself was truly overwhelming.

I congratulated her profusely and then turned to congratulate my son-in-law as well. He is an amazing husband and sure to be an amazing father as well. I can’t wait to watch the two of them step into the roles of ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’

In the weeks and months that followed their announcement, I was in awe of this precious gift that our family had been given. I have spent my whole life being ‘mom’ and helping my daughter navigate the choppy waters of life—it has been my favorite job. As a mother, I always felt it was my job to be the person who clapped the loudest in the audience. In a sea of people, I wanted her to always see me. I always wanted her to know I was there for her—with whatever she needed. Which now, is her pregnancy.

How has so much time passed? So much so, that now I will be someone’s Grandma soon? It was a blink of an eye from the time my daughter would pick out alphabet letters at 18 months old to her graduate school ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. Time moves so fast, doesn’t it?

Now it's my baby’s turn to be a mom.

I’ll have to take a step back into the audience. I know that all the clapping, mentoring, teaching and loving will continue as I step into the role of ‘Grandma.’ With every month that my grandchild grows, I gaze at my daughter in utter amazement. It’s a lesson in reality that life is a circle—as our family expands, it will also change. It’s a clear message indicating the significance of time.

I was feeling nostalgic recently, and so, I dug through my memory chest and unpacked the white baby outfit and blanket that had been hand knitted for my daughter’s trip home from the hospital. It was packed next to her prom dress and her sweet sixteen dress. I lovingly saved all these precious memories, trying to hold on to them for as long as I could.

Every time I see my daughter, I talk to the baby. "Hello, it's me, your Nonna (Grandma)!" I just want to make sure that my grandchild knows I'm here—and I always will be. For whatever they need. Forever.

The beautiful, glowing changes in my daughter as she gets further along in her pregnancy makes me think about the impact this will have on my life and our family dynamic. All our family values and customs will continue on with the next generation. The holidays and traditions that I’ve instilled in my daughter over the years will mean even more to her now that she’ll get to share them with her child.

(And my grandchild will probably also find them annoying as a teenager—like their mom!—and then embrace them as part of the fabric of their family as an adult. It is all part of life.)

I gave my daughter my pregnancy diary from so long ago. I had forgotten a lot of the details that I wrote about, and we laughed together as we read it. So many things were similar in both of our experiences. It was a touching trip down memory lane and a breathtaking glimpse into our future.

For me, becoming a grandmother is truly the most wonderful blessing a mom could ever be given. I absolutely can’t wait.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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