And Just Like That . . . I’m a Great-grandmother
by Donna Scrafano
When I would hear someone say “time flies” as a younger person, I didn’t pay much attention. In fact, I don’t believe I paid close attention to this adage until my late fifties. By then I had my first five grandchildren. In my mid-sixties, I had a total of seven grandchildren.
And then it happened, twenty-five years after becoming a grandmother, aka Nana, I was in the labor and delivery room with my first grandbaby awaiting the arrival of a new special kind of love: great grandmotherhood. It made me realize just how quickly time really does fly by. I could remember, like it was yesterday, holding my first grand baby and falling in special Nana love.
While my grand-love, Mariah, was birthing, her support trio fiancée Chris, my daughter Jo, and I coached, comforted, and waited for our precious bundle to arrive. Memories of Mariah’s birth were very present.
Friday the thirteenth certainly has new meaning to me, as our beautiful bundle of joy, Ella Rose, arrived on that date in the month of December. I felt like I was in a time warp. How could this be real? I believe it took the molecules in my body a few days to emotionally realign with reality. The reality of assisting my Mariah to give birth, the reality of watching Ella Rose enter this world, the reality that my youngest daughter was now a grandmother, and the stunning reality that I was a great-grandmother.
Ahhh! But once the realignment was completed, yet another new-found love took place. This new, great-grandmother love is now referred to as Nonna Love. Yes, I’ve added even a new name. To my grandchildren I am Nana; to my great-grandchildren I am Nonna. I figured I would go Italian this time around. Why not?
My title is different, and the love seems to come from yet a deeper part of my being. I’m not saying that my love for my grandchildren is any less than my love for my great-grandchildren, just that my feelings seem somehow deeper for this next generation our family has added.
When I held Ella Rose for the very first time, again, it was surreal. Thereafter, feelings of utter joy and wonderfulness took over my entire being. In addition to the love for this beautiful baby girl, I so enjoyed watching my granddaughter in her first-time motherly role. And seeing my daughter as a first-time grandmother was also so very enjoyable. Being part of the “first times” for both my granddaughter and daughter, I believe, caused a greater depth of love.
In addition to all the wonderfulness, previously explained, comes the benefit of being one generation removed. You see, I would assist in the many dynamics of raising my grandchildren. Although I enjoyed my grandchildren very much, I felt responsible or obligated to provide parental assistance every now and then. Mariah’s circumstances now are very different from those of my daughter’s back then. So, I don’t feel the overwhelming responsibility or obligation of helping to parent my precious Ella Rose. My granddaughter and her fiancé are such doting, loving parents. It’s so very obvious that, not only are they in love with this baby, but Ella Rose is so very much in love with her momma and dada. For sure. And my daughter, aka Gigi, is doing as I once did. She assists in every way necessary. Observing all of these dynamics adds on layers of love or, as I view it, deepens the love.
And because there’s an added generation, I can be a generation removed—removed from the more tedious responsibilities and obligations, yet closer to the enjoyment, the wonderfulness, and the love. Make sense? It does to me.
My daughter watched and learned how to be a loving, caring grandmother. On the same note, my granddaughter watched and learned how to be a loving mother. I now have passed the loving grandmother baton on to my daughter. What’s most wonderful is that I get to watch it all unfold and create yet another generation of love.
I now have an additional baton. The great-grandmother, or Nonna, baton.
(An important addendum: Seven months after Ella Rose’s arrival, yet another great-grandchild, Noah Edward, entered the world. Just like that!)
Photo credit by Donna L. Scrafano
Donna began her journey in Human Services in 1983. During the next 35 years she held various positions and formally retired in 2018. She writes on an array of social issues. Donna's relaxation time includes walking her Lab, Roxy, having fun with her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, writing for Silver Sage, spending time with friends and family. Her last full-time position was providing care to her father. Since that has ended, Donna is taking the time to invest in her own self care and interests.