Well that's it, my beautiful daughter after a long, arduous and difficult pregnancy has given birth to a gorgeous little baby boy. He is a tiny perfect bundle of joy. She lives in Greece and has waited, for a variety of reasons, quite a while before deciding to have this baby with her husband. I am naturally over the moon. I didn't expect to feel so utterly emotional when her husband phoned me. I felt desperate to speak to her and caught her on the mobile when she was coming out of the labour ward. She just managed to cry as did I and her husband switched the phone off.
Nobody told me I would feel so left out. Don't be selfish I've been telling myself all day. I didn't hear from her or hubby last night or this morning. This is my daughter with whom I have had the closest relationship any mother and daughter ever could have. Things have changed. Lots and lots of messages from well wishers, gorgeous messages, lovely messages, messages asking when was I going over to give her a hand....I was due to go immediately but something was telling me this wasn't meant to be so. I will wait I whispered to myself, feeling wounded, vulnerable and not altogether OK.
I am the mother of my daughter I tell myself as I watch the phone. I am strong and always in control. I've never been the needy, live through my kids type. When did I change? What has changed? Something has. Finally a message...now is a good time to call. I ring. My heart swelling with love, pride and a myriad of emotions I haven't yet processed. My ex husband is going in three days....28 years of never really showing much interest except when she got married and the annual holiday when he closes his eyes to the reality of her existence in Greece, and he's going before me?
Deep breath, be logical I heed myself. She explains she cant really say no to him. Oh I say my voice beginning to betray my utter sadness and bewilderment. When would you like me to come I ask feeling like a weed, spindly, raggedy and blowing wildly in a raging wind. Maybe at the end of the month comes the reply. Two weeks time. Last week, pre-baby she wanted me asap. Things have changed. OK, I say with a lightness I truly do not feel. It's entirely up to you. You must have time with your baby and husband to settle down. I am slain. I am confused. Everyone has told me how much she will need me. They are wrong. If you'd prefer me to wait a few months I can - not sounding as desperate as I feel for her to tell me - don't be daft mum I am just post natal, come now - she doesn't. No no I do want you to come, she says, just not for a bit. She is trying to please me. It's OK I say gaily, I really do understand, I won't push myself on you. Go at your own speed. I can come in a couple of weeks...we part as women on equal terms. She is no longer the little girl needing her mother, she is one herself now.
I cry like I haven't cried forever. The hurt is physical. The pain real. My son calls. Oh mum, he says concerned. Oh dear, I sob, it isn't supposed to be like this. My ego is savaged. I am not needed. I didn't realise how much I needed to be just that. Me the life coach, me the counsellor, me the wise women with an answer, idea and space for everything. Did my mum feel like this when I had my babies? I horribly recall not really needing anyone, but mum came anyway. I was grateful.
Is there anything I can do asks my son sounding more like a kindly parent. He has seen more tears from me in the past six months than he has his whole life. Is this how they will remember me, sad, emotional, always crying. I've spent the 30 years since having the kids, fighting for them, encouraging them, making space for them to grow, being strong, amazing and all the other things I wanted to be for them. Is this what it's come to? My daughter has a baby and I turn into a quivering wreck of a ya ya (Greek grandmother who is English and for some reason wants to be called Babu - what's all that about?) before I've set eyes upon the little poppet.
Oh dear says my husband who doesn't know what else to say. He defends her. I am wounded again. I would die for her but that's not the point. You aren't allowing me to have my feelings I wail. I text a wise and big hearted male friend who should have been a woman but isn't. He lets me cry, rant and watches the snot run from my nose. He laughs. Oh boo, he says, I know I should be sympathising but you are making me laugh. We discuss. We know where this is stemming from. We agree. There has to be a baddy and we name him. My daughter can't really be the baddy. Oh dear more tears.
And as my dear male BF said as he looked at my soul cards - (I was desperate for guidance) - you must allow her to learn how to become a mother now. He is right. I am wrong, mixed up and deluded. Nobody told me in the midst of such utter joy a woman could feel so isolated.
So that's the size of it. I will not wear my 'isnt it all just fabulous' mask to suit other people when they say isn't it just wonderful, but I will treat myself over the coming two weeks with tenderness, kindness and allow my wisest self, my nurturing parent to comfort and help the little one inside of me, who is feeling orphaned, sad and confused. Just because we become grandparents doesn't mean we get everything right. This is a big learning curve for me and no doubt in time I will have learnt those age old lessons of wisdom, strength and compassion and I hope I will look back fondly and smile, as I watch my beautiful daughter become a wonderful mother with her newborn son who has been so longed for. But just for tonight where are those blasted tissues......