Sisterhood Blog

Grandmothers, You're Scaring Me

By Melissa Langsam Braunstein

  • Print
  • Share Share
istock
Even a trip to the supermarket can become a coo-fest.

Grandmothers and more experienced mothers: You’re starting to scare me. I appreciate the constant cooing over my little girl, I do. But the nostalgia you regularly voice is worrisome.

My year-old daughter, Lila, and I are regularly stopped by women who identify themselves as having “older” or “grown” children, and most don’t sound so happy about it. More experienced mothers constantly urge me to “enjoy this time” with my baby — as if I’m not — always assuring me “it goes fast.” As you say these things, you sound either wistful or like you’re delivering a warning.

Is it adolescence that everyone has in mind, when I fully anticipate Lila’s being in full teenage-rebellion mode — mortified by my every comment and very existence? Or is it something else, something more enduring? Perhaps it varies by mother.

On a recent outing to the supermarket, Lila was wearing her eye-catching pink floral hat. “Take pictures,” a woman told me. “When she’s older, she’ll never believe she wore that. I know. I used to dress my kids in special clothes like that when they were younger, but now they’re teenagers.”

She looked unhappy as she said it — her voice betraying the sentiment of my own mother’s oft-repeated maxim: “Bigger kids, bigger problems.”

Upon seeing Lila, a grandmother we often bump into in our neighborhood talks about her grandson. Apparently, he was a few years behind me in college. Standing before me, his mother – who also lives nearby – seems lost in her memories, recalling how she stayed home to raise her two sons. It sounds like those were cherished days.

Truth is, some of you sound almost heartbroken.

Perhaps it’s the general separation or the realization that your child doesn’t need you as much as they once did. Or maybe you are reflecting on hardships your child has endured — things you never foresaw when they were babies.

I understand that, one day, I won’t be the center of my daughter’s world. Lila will have friends, personal interests, and even (hopefully) a spouse. But if she needs me less, I think that’s a good thing. So, while I cherish our daily routines, I hope they help mold a daughter who stays in touch with her family out of love, but is confident and independent enough to venture out fully into the world. If you already have that with your child, please celebrate your victory. Just as I should enjoy this portion of my child’s life, I think you should enjoy this stage, wherever in life that may be.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nostalgia, Parenting, Motherhood, Grown Children, Adolescence

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.