Often in my many travels, I overhear middle-aged women longing for grandchildren. Those who are blessed with them enthusiastically affirm that they are having the best time of their lives, enjoying them without the responsibility of being parents.
One day, my son sent me two black and white ultrasound images. Being a doctor, I knew what this meant and since there seemed to be two shadowy figures, I asked, “Are you having twins?”
For the first few months, we all held our breath, waiting for the twins to pass the gestational period when they would be viable outside the womb. My son and his wife live in Alaska, and my husband and I live in the New England area, they are hundreds of miles away from us and four hours behind us. The pandemic was having its wild swing then throughout the country. I followed the COVID-19 incidence in Alaska closely, hoping that it would remain low so I could be allowed to see and hold my first grandchildren when they were born. The excitement slowly crept in.
In the summer of 2021, parts of the United States were enjoying one of the lowest daily incidences of the pandemic in over a year. COVID vaccine enabled family reunions to be possible. Both my husband and I were vaccinated. We traveled across the country to welcome our first grand twins.
On June first, 2021, the twins, both breached were born through C-section. Lucas, came out first, followed by Samuel who came out partially, slipped back into the womb as though he was not ready to face the world yet before the obstetrician fished him out.
With the two little darlings resting on my lap, I felt the warmth of their wriggling bodies. The frequent changing of diapers and seemingly around-the-clock feeding, and their frowning and grimacing expressions brought back memories of my children when they were born. The many nights I stayed up with the twins, holding their perfect little hands and feet, they subtly informed me of the precious nature of life, making me understand why the traveling grandmothers I met were full of wonder and love for their grandchildren.
The COVID pandemic has at times put in-person reunions on hold, but savvy modern grandparents have learned to navigate and employ technological means for virtual meetings, complete with virtual hugs and kisses. They become creative in enhancing their relationship with their grandchildren by making a routine of their virtual visits such as reading to them at bedtime.
Long-distance grandparenting is not new, about ten percent of grandparents travel over 200 miles to visit their nearest grandchildren. Alaska is far away from where I live but I circumvent that by following the twins’ physical and emotional transformations and interacting with them weekly over the digital world, redefining the modern grandparenting role. Each week I am dazzled by how quickly they grow and develop their own unique personalities to become their own person, a journey that I envision will keep me wishing for more.
What is it like to become a grandmother?
The honest truth is, instead of feeling old as I dreaded, I am invigorated. My grand-twins do indeed bring hope, love, illimitable energy, youthfulness, and joy to my brave new world of grandmotherhood.