Mom, Interrupted

For the first time yesterday, at the OBGYN, I heard the heartbeat of Myrrhine’s babe-in-progress. While I was hoping for an ultrasound (a more formal introduction, even though it is essentially a one-way mirror), her midwife gently reminded us that the procedure is a disturbance for a fetus, and that their final scheduled one, at 36 weeks to chart the baby’s position, is probably more important than a visiting grandma-to-be’s peek-a-boo.

[caption id="attachment_784" align="aligncenter" width="650" class=" "]650IcesInArizona Ices in Arizona, 2016 Road Trip[/caption]

The word “transition” describes a difficult period of labor with lengthy contractions and brief respites, yet all culminating in delivery. I borrow it to describe my journey from mom to mother/grandma, as it unfolds.

Let’s get the vanity stuff out of the way. First, there is the ‘now I’m old’ factor. Perhaps that is why I have kept it close to the vest, sharing only with my work and friend inner circles. Then, there’s the unreality of it all. Until yesterday, I harbored a sense of disbelief—rather, suspended animation—around being a ‘grandma’ and all that it means.

However, hearing that heartbeat brought on a flood of new feelings, accompanied with new ideas, scenarios, longings, and love. While my love for “Boy,” that wee package of wonder and curiosity, is ethereal, my love for my daughter, a mother-to-be, is experienced in ways intense, reminiscent, and personal. When I look at her changing body, I feel the same emotion I felt when she first announced she’d gotten her period, and then again when she first confessed she’d fallen in love with someone. The milestones of femalehood are experiences that all women share.

As I watch her round, stretching form dipping and diving in the aqua pool here in Tempe, I have to tell her how beautiful she looks. Back at the house, a recent photo of her and Sam catches my eye, and I am moved by how they stare at each other, with the gaze of two people in love. We’ve all had The gaze—whether for our lovers, our spouses, our children, or for all of the above.

While we can focus love in many directions, our time is finite. As a new life takes a big chunk of Myrrhine’s devotion and attention, I know our relationship will shift. It will probably be a long time before there’s another mom-daughter road trip.

But in the meantime, I’ll savor my own milestone. In a couple of months I get to meet a brand new person, and I will have special status. And, I hope, one more friend for life.

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