Thursday, August 8, 2013

In the margin

I waited patiently while everyone else had their chance to hold Brody. I smiled and laughed along with them, in a room filled with love for this new life and each other. I tried to block the words out of my mind and just be in the moment, but those words, thoughtless and cruel, kept popping up to stab my heart a little deeper. I took photos of this happy family, and tried to look ahead, to think of the future and what it holds for this healthy, beautiful baby, and for us. But there was a cloud in my mind and a voice in my head, saying words that hurt me to the core of my being, words that targeted me, that could only have targeted me.

Blood relatives first.

When we learned that a grand-baby was on the way, my excitement and joy overflowed. Never having held a baby of my own, I looked forward to the sweetness of this baby, our involvement in his life, watching him grow. Greg would be Grandpa, and I {step} Grandma. We waited those 2 awful nights for Brody to arrive while his young parents endured a long labor and delivery. We had the phone by the pillow, worrying and waiting.

Blood relatives first.

Can it be possible that anyone would think that because this baby is not of my 'blood' that he means any less to me than if he were? Am I regarded as such an outsider, so not-family that I must be last to hold this precious life?  Will I not love this boy beyond all reason as I would my own "blood" grandson? Those words, hopefully not meant to hurt me, did so, regardless. Hurt me deeply. And so, after everyone else had their chance, I held Brody in my arms. Tears rolled and dropped to his blanket, tears of joy but more of sadness. Because I realized that as much as I want to be, I will never be anyone's Grandma, not really. I will always be left on the margins, disregarded and dismissed.

How could a day that started so happy end with such sadness, sorrow that has lingered, that I can not shake? I will cook meals for Eric and Jen and send them along with Greg when he goes while I am working. I will do my best to try to let this slight roll off, and be who I am, blood or no, a loving presence in this baby's life. I will love Brody for who he is, with all of my heart and soul, no less than his 'blood' relatives.

But it seems my place has been set, and it is not at the family table.


Jeff- in the Berkshires said...

Blood relatives first, then special relatives get to hold him last and perhaps not feel the pressure of letting him go too soon. That's the way I see it.
What a privilege and place of honor. Maybe not first but not buried in the middle. The bookend for the occasion.

It is always a little weird being an in-law. Unintentional as it might be we always are a step remove as our SO is a step removed from our blood relatives. My wife family is very welcoming and loving but even there I know I am not a "blood relative" and have to work a little on myself to include myself. And it takes a little work if we are a little on the shy side, at least it does for me. I will tend to stay to the edges until I force my self to see that it is me clinging to the edge.

I am sure you've heard this line that any male can sire a child but it takes someone special to be a Dad and it doesn't involve genetics. Well that sentiment applies here too. It isn't blood that makes a loving grandma, its the love that you have an abundance of and a willingness and desire to share it.

I can see you as a wonderful grandma and Brody isn't going to care whether your on not you are a blood relative and to think anything else is total bull shit. (excuse me) Brody just knows that you love him like crazy and will love you in return.

So, Peg get back in there and get away from those edges and get up to the table. Maybe there is another grandma to Brody but not one like you. He's a lucky baby to have you in his corner.


peg said...

Oh Jeff, thank you so much. I really went through a tough road there, but I am feeling better about things now. I have seen Brody since that day, and held him and had him fall asleep in my arms, a warm little bundle of enormous love....I know what you say is true and I am looking forward to many such times with my little guy.

Thank you for speaking to the hurt in my heart and for understanding.