When a baby comes into this world, its mother invites her own mother, sisters, cousins, et al to participate in all aspects of that newborn's life. Oops, in my excitement to get this written, I forgot to include Mother-in-law! No, I actually didn't forget. How could I? Let me begin again...
Generally, #2G gets to see the baby after it comes home, and she should come bearing gifts; afterall, there's not a thing she can do to help out. #1G has everything under control. (I beg your pardon, but I hope you cannot detect any bitterness in my tone. Well, that's not really true. I'm writing this to purge some of the bitterness. But I digress...)
Babysitting is a rare treat for #2G, and sleepovers are few-and-far-between throughout the coming years. The best one can hope for is to be able to laugh with, shower with gifts, tutor, and share birthdays with one's grandchildren. Time & Money are the keys to being an excellent #2G. Never forget this, ye mothers of sons!
My four children had the most wonderful grandma in their Grandma Zelphia Frost. She became #1G because she earned that place in our family. She didn't have a lot of T&M, but she could cook and laugh like nobody's business! She didn't do much babysitting, but my Rachel was her favorite companion. What a pair those two were! And she was there, always there, when we needed her. If any of my grandchildren comes to say such things about me when I am gone, my legacy will be meaningful. I can't do anything about the # that comes before Grandma, but I will cherish every moment I get to spend with those grandkids, who are the most precious people in my world!
Now, I can imagine my own paternal grandmother (Fannie Burgess Jimison) writing these exact words somewhere in the 1950s or 1960s. She had three granddaughters from my dad's sister who stayed close to her roots (TX); Grandma Jimison had three more grandchildren from my dad. I'll let you guess which grandkids were the favored ones...that's right. The grandkids that gave her the status of #1G. Granted, we lived in California, while Grandma & Grandpa Jimison lived in Louisiana. Nevertheless, my own mother did little, if anything, to cultivate a relationship with her one-and-only mother-in-law. To that I say, "Shame on you!"
My maternal grandmother (Hazel Hinds Hiday) was the #1G in our family -- mostly because we three kids were her ONLY grandchildren and she was a widow. AND she was our mom's mom. AND she lived fairly close to us. AND she was willing to come visit, even though she worked full-time. AND she had Time & Money on the weekends. Those were great weekends, whether she came to our home, or we went to hers. Actually, it was a lot more fun at her house, because we had free reign over Crockett, CA when we descended upon it. (More on that in a later post.)
Here's where things get a bit misleading: my mother was #1G for ALL of her grandchildren. She became #1G to my older brother's kids because his mother-in-law was a raging alcoholic. (Sadly, died of a drug overdose in 1975.) Mom also was #1G for my younger brother's kids, because she chose to put A LOT of Time & Money into his three daughters over thirty years. Yes, my old pink bedroom became theirs, as did my dolls, books, and favored mementos. Sadly, my four children spent so little time with my mother that they didn't really know much about her, other than when I shared with them. She came to stay for a five days each time I had a baby, and I was loathe to let her leave when each allotted visit ran out. She had every summer off but could only spare a few days each year to visit, because she perceived that her other grandkids needed her more. But I digress in the sea of bitterness once again. I beg your indulgence as I wrap this up...
*Not a day goes by--not a single day-- that I don't think of my Grandma Hiday; she influenced my world, my talents, my goals and interests, and my style of grand-parenting. I miss her and have a lot of questions to ask her that I never thought of while she was alive. *Not a day goes by that my own kids don't think of their dear Grandma Frost, whose unconditional love influenced every one of her twenty grandchildren. *And every single day at least one of my grandkids is apt to receive a phone call or visit from this grandma. I'm dying to move closer to them all. As soon as my house sells, I'm going to put a lasso around Grandpa's neck and drag him to the family rodeo. My love for each of them is eternal and unconditional, not unlike the love I have for their parents -- even my daughters-in-law! And THAT, friends, is what's behind Grandma Number Two.
EXTRA: For my theater friends, I have left a little nugget of musical theatre in this blog post. If you spot it and type it in the comments below, I will send you a prize of either a music CD or a selfie stick.