When talking with friends, we often bemoan the fact that so much time has passed since we met, since our children were young, since we were young, you fill in the sentence. My friend, Robin, posted recently on the anniversary of the preschool that my children attended and through which I met her. It was the start of a 36 year friendship. I commented on her post that Rachel was 8 months old when we met sitting on the rock wall waiting for the boys. Now here I am having turned my back for just a moment and my baby is having a baby. You can do the math and might say, “She’s hardly a baby,” but she will always be my baby as will her brother, and it’s a little hard to get my head around the concept.
Rachel and I just spent 2 terrific days together working on a couple of projects around the house and shopping for clothes that will fit her new body shape. I freely admit that it was a bit surreal for me. All I wanted was for Rachel to feel good about how she looked and to be comfortable. That accomplished, we discussed things like strollers, car seats, diaper genies, and other items that are must-haves. I’m pretty good at buying stuff and making lists, so I felt somewhat helpful and like I was contributing to the conversation. However, it’s the other part that I’m unsure of. How can I be of the most help while living 2 hours away with a dog? Where can I stay to visit and help out since their apartment is barely big enough for two adults and a baby? What can I do that will be most appreciated? Not rocket science, you say? Easy for you to say. My friends seem to be very good at being grandmothers and somehow know their roles at certain times and know how to best help their children.
Here’s what I’ve done so far: (1) when Rachel visits, she does very little and I make healthy food for snacks, meals, and desserts; (2) I am available by phone, text or email for questions or comments; (3) I am renovating one of the bedrooms to try to get a few more feet of living space (of course this requires that the contractor actually gets back to me!); (4) I dispense advice whether anyone wants it or not; and (5) I have offered to do whatever whenever. Others have started knitting things (I don’t know how to knit), sending family items (I threw out all of Rachel’s books, blankets, etc., after they mildewed in Florida), and sending cards and the occasional gift. I hired a doula but again this only requires purchasing something.
I tell myself that I can only be myself and trying to be something I’m not would be foolish. But, honestly, I only turned around for a moment, maybe I blinked once or twice, and my baby is dealing with becoming a mom!