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.

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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Maria Sainato is a mom of two who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is a closet writer whose favorite job is being a mom, even though her real paycheck says Department of Education.

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