On [Grand]parenthood

Dear mom,

In a rare moment of all boys napping, I realized I have the amazing gift of just being (amidst the laundry, dishes and diapers). Even though it is calm here, your presence is deeply missed by both me and Liam. We have found ourselves saying more than once, “wow my mom/Linda would love this moment.” It is not easy to capture them all via phone-pictures usually infuriate and stress me out- but I hope you can see I am trying more this time around. 

I feel like I can relate to you so much better than I could 17 months ago. I can tell you about sleepless nights because of a little body that doesn’t yet have his own circadian rhythm. That breastfeeding 24/7 is brutal (and not like pumping at all). I can finally share in the pride that comes with looking at a tiny babe- a joy that is not suffocated with grief and fear. 

I used to feel very strongly that you could not possibly “get it” after Brennan’s birth and the complications that followed. No one likes to be reminded (but we are, constantly) that there was a time that our baby was dying. How could anyone on the outside possibly get that? Holding our breath after ultrasounds and blood draws for weeks, sitting through hours of surgery before we had a clear idea of Brennan’s quality of life and the mountains he will face in the future.

Because you’re my mom, I texted you when Winston spit up for the first time, and when he failed his initial hearing screen, but I did not tell you how I wept and trembled for hours because I was so scared of the ball dropping, again. Of someone I didn’t know coming in and taking my baby away. Again. I was ashamed of my fear and anxiety because how could you understand?

 But today for the first time, I truly thought about a life where I watched my child in constant fear of losing someone so close (a literal extension of themselves) and suffer and navigate a murky world far, far away. I felt like I was getting stabbed straight in the heart, over and over. To know that you could only be there to listen and pray, powerless to fix the problem, change the diagnosis, or deliver good news. It goes against the DNA of motherhood. Instead, you waited (mostly patiently) for news to be delivered to you. A waiting game endured 1500 miles away. I scoffed when you said you didn’t sleep, but how could you? 

You always understood. 

It took a ‘healthy’ baby for me to be excited to video chat and to send pictures. Winston has been the perfect distraction for the all consuming thoughts Liam and I have regarding Brennan’s medical journey. More so, it has been comforting to finally feel normal in the ever-changing trenches of early motherhood but immensely more comforting to know you understand and have all along. 

Thank you for transcending the planes of love to love me so well, through it all. 

One thought on “On [Grand]parenthood

  1. Amen to your shout out to your mom, Jenna! I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with her and during a quiet moment, she was sharing updates about Brennnan. She was in awe of your strength and independence and a bit wistful about her child not needing her mom more. I told her it was a good thing, and it was because she had done her job so well in raising you.
    Earlier in the day, while preparing for company, Lydia said, “Aunt Linda seems like she’d be a fun mom.” I whole-heartedly agreed and added, not only fun, but patient and energetic as well. God bless her…she’s a treasure and deeply loved!


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