Monday, September 03, 2012

Happy birthday, Clara!

It's birthday #2 for the month.  Clara turned 3 years old today.  I'm remembering the long drive to NY while Erin was laboring, the long night in the hospital, the early morning c-section decision, and then meeting our very first grandchild.  There is nothing quite like it in the world!

There is also nothing quite like watching your daughter become a mother and seeing all the ways she does a better job than you did - her patience, humor, diligence, thoughtful decision making in so many areas in which I flew by the seat of my pants.  I marvel.

There is also nothing like watching a little person's personality blossom, and seeing the ways she is like one parent or the other.  It's easier to see these things a generation removed, I think.  She has her Daddy's eyes, her Mama's diction, her Daddy's extroverted people-loving personality, her Mama's attention to detail.

When my children were small I think I was so focused on keeping food in their bellies, clothes on their backs, and peace in the land that I wouldn't have answered very accurately if asked who my children were most like.  And of course, these things develop.  Now I can tell you which children are exactly like Coty (and not like me!) in the way she/he buys an appliance or approaches a red light; who is more introverted and who thrives in the presence of a crowd.

My only complaint as a Gramma is that my granddaughter (and her parents) live much too far away from me!  Skype is a wonderful invention for long distance connecting, but it doesn't come even close to being as wonderful as holding a snuggly toddler on your lap and reading Alfie books for hours or listening to delight-filled banter as you push the stroller past the duck pond or along the seashore.  It stinks when your daughter calls and has had a hard day and all you want to do is go over and whisk up that granddaughter and take her to the park and bring home a pizza for dinner so your daughter can have a break and a nap.  Alas, there is no "running over" when it takes 13 hours to get there.

I, however, really have no room to complain.  As the middle children with wanderlust spirits, high hopes of adventure, and dissertation research to do (well, one of us, anyway) we moved off to Kenya where our daughter, who also happened to be the  very first grandchild on both sides of the family was born.  And then we moved to California and then, after a brief stint in the DC area (where we were a bit closer to family), we moved up north - far away from everyone.  What were we thinking?  Our poor children's grandparents.  I realize now how hard that must have been.  I also appreciate more than ever what an exceptional job of long-distance grandchild loving my parents and in-laws have always done.  I only hope I do as well.

Enough of that, though.  What you really want to see is the birthday girl, right!

Here she is on the day of her birth.  Hopefully I'll have a birthday party picture or two from Erin tomorrow!


llasblog said...

Happy birthday, little Clara!

I am very conscious of all the things in your post right now. It will still be quite a few years still before I have grandchildren, but as our daughter grows up, I'm thinking about how we moved away from our parents, and it's entirely likely that our daughter will need to move away as well, and soon. One is glad for their children's hard work and willingness to do what they need to, but also wistful that they're not closer physically. And I'm sure you love the little grandchildren just the same!

Kathie said...

we moved away from our parents too - funny how you don't really think as much about that when you are the ones moving.

But yay for skype! It makes such a difference - when we were away it was all by letter and an "once in a while" expensive phone call. Not as sweet as cuddling grandbabies but at least we can see them in their environment now. And it's free!!

Happy happy Birthday to your wee grandgirl - I'll have to learn all your long-distance grandmothering tips for my London grandbabies to be.