Note from Miguel Guhlin: This is a guest blog post by author Jennifer Emerson. My thanks to Jennifer for her willingness to publish her writing here. You can get back to this blog entry by using a short URL of http://bit.ly/jemerson_changes . Follow Plurks here, and Twitter traffic about this post here (please use hashtag of “#jechanges” without quotes).
by Jennifer Emerson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Looking at myself in the mirror, I try to see those wrinkles, lines, and spots that are suddenly erupting. My fingers pull and poke at the skin around my eyes, and I think, “Do I look like a Grandma?” You see, four months ago, my seventeen-year-old daughter informed me that, yes indeed; I was going to be a grandma.
When she told me, I was at a workshop to learn about read alouds. During the course of this workshop, I had received nine buzzing text messages from her. Thinking that this was one of her “fake emergencies”, you know the kind that start with, “OMG! I need twenty dollars Mom, now because I chipped a nail,” I went into the hallway to call her back.
Nothing prepares you for the, “Mom, I’m prego, don’t be mad” call. As soon as she answered, I said, “What is the emergency?” All I heard was sniffling and the unmistakable sound of my daughter crying. Immediately, I ask, “Oh my God, are you hurt, are you ok?” All I hear is, “Mom, don’t be mad.” At that very moment, everything stopped: my breathing, my thoughts, my life. As her Mom, I instinctively knew, I just knew, she was pregnant.
I couldn’t reply because I was so stunned, you know, struck speechless in a way that at that moment I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach, and the wind was knocked out of me. Finally, I very calmly said, “We’ll talk about it when I get home.”
All I was thinking was I have to go back into this workshop and sit for another thirty minutes. Well, needless to say, the presenter sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. All I heard was, “Waa, wa, wa…”
After the initial shock of the g-ma news, I was MAD! I can remember stomping to my car as I was leaving the workshop. I kept thinking, “How could this happen?” Getting into my car, I immediately grabbed my cell phone. Dialing her number, I felt like a mama volcano fixing to erupt! When she answered, I could tell she was still crying. For the next thirty minutes, all I think I did was yes, scream, and cry at her. I remember the last words I told her before I hung up were, “Just wait until I tell your Dad!”
I tried composing myself as I pulled into the driveway. My husband’s truck was already in its spot, and I couldn’t wait to get inside and tell him what our daughter had done. Well, his reaction was priceless Dad material. “Oh, s@#$! How did that happen?” I looked at him like, Are you nuts? How do you think it happened?
Our daughter had been hiding in her room the whole time my husband and I were talking. I’m sure she was feeling scared and anxious. As I went to knock on her door, I told myself, Don’t kill her. Very calmly, I knocked on her door and told her to join us at the kitchen table. Looking at her, all I could see was that curly-headed, blue-eyed two-year-old that would ask me, “You yove me, Mama?”
I don’t think that any mother, father, son, or daughter wants to have the discussion we were about to have. The first words out of my husband’s mouth were, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of, sweetie, your mother and I are not disappointed.” As I was staring at the bowl of fruit sitting on the kitchen table, I thought, I just want to ding both him and her in the head with an apple.
Well, guess what? I was feeling disappointed and feeling somewhat ashamed. I didn’t say those words to her, but boy did I feel them. Didn’t she know that I had all these dreams for her? She was supposed to travel the world, have fun, and eventually become that hot, sexy, beautiful international lawyer! But, oh no, she had to go and get pregnant at seventeen. How were we going to get through this? Up until this point, she had been the typical self-absorbed, it’s all about me teenager. How in the world was she going to raise a baby?
My husband was still doing the talking. Our daughter just sat there with pools of tears in her eyes. In her eyes, I could see her hopes and dreams washing away. I don’t know what he was saying to her, because I had shut down. I did not want to be a grandma! I wanted her to conquer this world and then get married, have some kids, and live in a great house. As I watched my husband and daughter hug, I felt like a robot, devoid of feelings. To be honest, I didn’t even want to hug her; so I didn’t. Looking at her, I could see the supreme hurt in her eyes. The look that says, you don’t love me anymore. All I could do was turn and walk away.
Lying in bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. A million thoughts raced around inside my head. I remembered when she was a baby. How fiercely and wholly I loved her from the start. How each year that has gone by, she has taken my breath away with how beautiful and smart she has become. Now, my baby was going to have a baby, and, yes indeed, I was going to be a grandma.
I don’t know what time I finally fell asleep, but I think that there was the tiniest bit of a smile forming in my heart for this new life.
Jennifer Emerson is a mother of two teenage children. She is an elementary school teacher in an urban school district and enjoys reading, writing, and running in her spare time.
Please offer comments and/or remarks to her via the comment section on this blog entry, or for more direct remarks, via email at “email@example.com”.
This particular work, unlike the items usually shared on this blog, are shared under Copyright 06/27/2010 Jennifer Emerson with permission granted to share via the Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org blog; please reprint this copyright notice when sharing with others.
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