Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I have been given the greatest gift a mother could ask, my daughter- back. Last year a month before Mother’s Day I began a heart wrenching journey. My oldest daughter was in a serious car accident. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken neck, broken back, broken foot, but she was alive.
She was a single mom. I became the guardian of my toddler grandson. I wasn’t prepared to become a mother in that way again. I was prepared to be a doting, spoiling grandmother. If you’re familiar with traumatic brain injuries, then you’re familiar with the roller coaster of behaviors they bring. I settled into life as the mother of a toddler, a three year old. I neglected myself. I gained weight. I stopped exercising. I defined self-care as taking 5 extra minutes in the shower at 5 am, a time I was sure he would still be asleep in bed. I had a baby monitor on my nightstand. Romantic nights were gone. Was this my reality? My friends, all empty nesters, disappeared socially. They were supportive, but not interested in sharing dinner with my husband, me and a 3 year old. I loved him. We loved him. We gave him our every moment. But this was exhausting. We still work full-time. I couldn’t come home from work and relax. I had to get dinner ready, play cars, bath time, teeth brushing, story time, tucking in, another drink of water. My grandson changed the name I gave myself when his born, grandma. He began calling me grand”mom”. I loved him, but this was hard. I wanted to be grandma, not a mom. I wanted to spoil, not regulate time outs. And he wanted a mom.
Slowly she healed. Slowly her emotions stabilized . Slowly she rebuilt her life. Slowly my grandson was brought back into her life. Slowly he left mine. Slowly my daughter went from day visits to overnights then to weekends, then to holiday breaks, and we were moving toward preschool spring break and it happened. The world changed. She had rebuilt her life. She married the friend who held her hand as she healed while I cared for her son, my grandson. My grandson went for his weekend visit, to be back Sunday night ready for Monday preschool. But the world changed. There was no more school. This was the test. He stayed with her. She was a mom. Her and I talk weekly. I check on him often, because I miss him. I miss his hugs, his hand in mine.
I often tell people I am trying to embrace equanimity. It is the philosophy that there is no good or bad. There just “is”. We are the ones who label things good and bad. Of course it seemed “bad” that my daughter was in a car accident. It seemed “bad” I became the guardian of my grandson. But on the eve of this Mother’s Day I can embrace equanimity, because I see clearly now. I am on the other side. Everything does have a reason, we may just not know what it is until much later. When my daughter was involved in the accident her and my grandson lived 3 states away. She was a struggling, single mom. I barely saw my grandson. He knew me from FaceTime chats and the occasional visit. Now she lives 22 miles from me. My grandson knows me so well he reminded one of his friends playing with a pretend gun that “My grandmom doesn’t like guns. Don’t point a gun at her. She doesn’t like even pretend guns” as he put his hand on his playmate’s pretend gun lowering it toward the ground. My daughter is married and she is happy. Her husband dotes on her, cares for her and loves her. This Mother’s Day I get to be a mom and a grandmom. I am so grateful.