Any minute now, I’ll be Nana

Any minute now, my identity will change. I feel as if I should be preparing for it, but there’s nothing to pack, no one to cook for, no special outfit to wear. My soul and self are scrambled. I’m moving from room to room, wanting to do something, looking to be useful, but there’s no task, nothing unfinished, nothing for me to do. I’m floating until my first grandchild arrives. 

I’m neither the producer nor star of this show. This time, my job is to be a good audience. I’m in New York. She’ll be born in New Jersey. So, in a state of unprecedented anticipation, I wait for the curtain to go up a state away from where the action is. Waiting for the cue, the overture, the spotlights to flash, I’m off-stage, off-kilter, in the wings, and I feel like mist ready to take shape. I feel I should be important in this process, but I’m a bit player—not my time to shine. This is about the baby and her mommy and daddy, and I—both an insider and an outsider—am the grandparent.

She’s due today, and when she gets here, she’ll be bringing me a new role, a new name, and a new way to love. As of now, I’m still Maureen, wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend. When she arrives, I’ll be the same age I was when I awoke this morning. I’ll still be wearing the clothes I like to wear. I’ll still possess the vanity that compels me to apply mascara before I eat breakfast. Still, I will have a successful career behind me, the memories of traveling the world, and though my body says otherwise, my mind will think I am still thirty-something. But when she arrives, I’ll move to another dimension of human experience. Will I look different? I wonder if others will say, “That woman is a grandmother. I can tell.” My world is shifting and causing a personal cataclysm, and I’m OK with that. Any minute now, I will be Nana.

I’ve bought her gifts. I’ve crocheted dresses and sweaters and hats and blankets and buntings. I’ve given thought to her college fund. Imagining what we’ll do together—painting, writing, making jewelry, storytelling, reading, visiting museums, watching “The Wizard of Oz”—is so real in my mind. 

But she’s not here yet. Any minute now.

I wonder if she knows how anxious we are. Does she know how many people are waiting for her? Good things are worth waiting for. And in this case, no one but God—and her mother—can deliver the prize.

My hands want to do something for her. Her hands already hold my heart. I’ve been speaking to her, picturing her, imagining her chubby cheeks and downy hair. I feel her in my arms and don’t mind at all when she reaches to pull my hair. Though I haven’t left the house without makeup since I was 10 years old, I already know that I’ll be fine with not wearing lipstick when I’m with her so all the kisses won’t be so messy. I’ll be OK with not wearing earrings and burying my necklaces beneath my clothes when I’m with her, too, because babies love to pull at those things. Big compromises since jewelry and makeup punctuate my identity—but any minute now, I’ll have a new identity. 

I’ve imagined supporting her as she develops her confidence and self-expression. I’ve designed so many outfits for her, planned so many art projects and made a mental list of movies I’d love her to see and books I hope she will read. But all of this will have to wait while she absorbs those last bits of heaven before becoming part of this world. Any minute now.

I want to know her, to talk to her, to tell her stories. I want to teach her drawing, baking, writing, cooking and counting in Italian. I want to help her find her identity. I want to give her all the ingredients I can offer for that discovery, now, while I’m here in this world with her. She can hold them for when she needs them.

I love her so much, this person I’ve yet to meet. I want to squeeze her, feel her soft cheeks against mine, cuddle her head beneath my chin. I want to wrap my arms around her and stand between her and any dangers of this world. I want to point out all the beauty of this world and all the wonders, too. I want her to know the moon is within reach and every star twinkles for her because I asked them to. I’ll tell her, “Just point, my little marshmallow angel, and it’s yours.” There’s so much I want to do for her, this first child of my first child. But not yet, any minute now.

My soul is morphing, and I feel as if I am being born. In a way, I am. A new part of me will emerge. My heart is growing. My name will change. For the first time, I will be Nana. 

I don’t know her name yet, but I know her. I don’t know her voice, but I hear her. I can’t touch her, but I feel her. Already, I am Nana, and she’ll be here any minute now.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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