How is it possible that I could fall in love with someone who I’d only known for a few seconds? As her dark piercing eyes met mine, my heart leapt into my mouth and I struggled to maintain my composure. My entire being filled with such emotion that I wept as I cradled her in my arms.
Regardless of whether I was ready or not, my granddaughter had arrived, wide-eyed and full of trust and expectation that we, her parents and grandparents, would protect and love her with all of our hearts.
Her long, butterfly-like eyelashes gently closed as she fell into a post-birthing slumber, nestled against her mother’s bare skin and in that instant I knew I was ruined for life.
I was captivated and utterly in love.
I felt the presence of my mother, who had passed away just 18 months before, enter the room and softly whisper in my ear “it’s up to you now, you are here to teach her what you know to be true”
My responsibilities as a woman had suddenly stepped up a notch. I was this child’s grandmother and also in charge of being her Wise Counsel.
Both my mother and grandmother were hard working, salt of the earth women. Compassionate, funny, kind and always willing to give up their seat at the table first, if it meant someone else would benefit.
I grew up watching them serve their men and children, never putting themselves first and never complaining about the challenges they faced. They got on with it, regardless of the personal cost.
It was devastating when they died within a few days of each other. I was heartbroken. The two upper women in my life had been wiped out and I was left searching for answers about how I was to continue on without my own Wise Counsel.
The pain of losing both these women hasn’t subsided quickly, but on their first anniversary I felt a lightness that had been missing from daily life. The clarity that comes from grieving is shockingly subtle but intense all at once. They had left me the legacy of inner strength, persistence and power.
For much of my life I had struggled to accept that I was anything other than fat, disgusting and unworthy. Being painfully shy and highly sensitive just added fuel to the fire and for many years, life felt like an upward battle.
Using their wisdom and guidance, I called forward their legacy to help me reclaim who I truly was. I discovered what it meant to love who I am in all of my imperfect perfectness and I began to live with passion, purpose and in integrity with my soul.
I made a vow the moment I laid eyes on my granddaughter that I would step up into my new responsibility without question. Not only would I continue to teach what my mum and grandmother had taught me, but I would bring my own legacy to life for my granddaughter.
This was my chance to make a difference in the world.
Two and a half years on and our baby girl has grown into a fearless toddler, climbing her way into mischief and mayhem. Feisty, gentle and stubborn as a mule, as she curiously discovers the world.
I am gently guiding her, as I vowed to do, but I swear she has taught me more than I would ever have imagined.
Her tantrums have shown me that she is learning her own mind, as she fires food across the room I know that she is learning her own tastes, and her definite ‘NO’s’ are decision-making skills that must be encouraged.
Though this may drive her parents batty when they’re in the midst of a battle field, I watch in awe from the side-lines, as she grows and develops her unique self.
What I now know for certain is that we are the wise women, the elders, the Wise Counsel and we have valuable information and life learnings to share with our grandchildren. We have a great opportunity to inspire them to fully live their life, whatever that means for them.
We must fearlessly lead them and be ready to help them back up when they fall, encouraging them with our guidance and understanding ears.
I have never felt more blessed than I do today, being a grandmother is an incredible honour and one of the greatest gifts I have ever experienced. As I write we’ve just discovered we’ll have another addition to our family before the end of the year, a little boy this time. Let the fun begin!