Today is about true love. The love between my mom and my daughter.
A bit of background first– my mom desperately wanted to be a grandmother. As the years went on and it looked as if her wish would not be fulfilled, she began to carry pictures around of my sweet naked dog, Slick – a hairless Chinese Crested. When her friends would pull out pictures of their grand-kids, my mom would show them her pictures of Slick – her “Grand-puppy.”
I finally became pregnant when I was 42, after more than two years of trying. We found out the incredible news just a week before my mom’s 75th birthday, and called my mom, asking if she wanted an early birthday present. We could hear her shrug as she said “Sure.” We told her she was going to be a grandma, and she was, needless to say, ecstatic! There are many tales I could tell you about my mom during my pregnancy – my favorite is about her reaction to the name we chose if our child was a boy (we didn’t know at that point the sex of our child). You’ll have to read my upcoming book – tentatively titled “The M.O.M. Project: Memories of Mom” – to find out the story.
When I gave birth, my mom rushed to the hospital to meet her granddaughter. She delayed her gratification, however, and sat with me in the recovery room after my C-section. She was a great mom, reassuring me that sensation would return to my body at some point. (She was right.) The midwife brought our daughter into the recovery room, and my mom was in love! The next day, my mom held her for the first time as they gazed into each other’s eyes.
They cemented their bond when our daughter was about two months old. At that point, she would smile only for us, no matter how much anyone cajoled. One day, my mom knocked on our door, and I opened it, holding our daughter. My mom smiled her radiant smile – which could light the darkest room – and our daughter smiled back. It was a sight to behold – one that will rest in my memory for as long as I live. For 12 years, that love created a warm glow around them that never ebbed.
My mom didn’t just want to be a grandma, she wanted the title. “I don’t want to be “Nana” or “Bubbe,” she pronounced. “I want to be “Grandma.‘” Life, however, has a way of taking its own path. When our daughter was old enough to come up with her own name for my mom, she cooked up “Apple Baby.” (If you don’t know the etymology of this name, you can find out when my book is published.) Ultimately, my mom came to embrace the name, in much the same way she embraced the child who invented it.
As our daughter grew, her love for her Apple Baby expanded. We would travel to New York often to visit her. She accompanied us when we took our daughter to her first Broadway show. When my mom moved to Boston, the two of them saw each other several times each week. If our daughter was angry at us, or upset, or anxious, she would want to visit Apple Baby to feel better. My mom was her rock, in a way – someone who loved her unconditionally, in that grandparent way.
Watching my mom read to our daughter, seeing them hug, laugh together, and just share the intense love they had for each other, made my heart soar. I carry that love with me – the light that flowed between them for 12 years – and smile. Through moist eyes.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words…