My daughter had a baby Sunday night, our first grandchild. I was not prepared for the emotions the experience evoked....I thought I would be but I wasn't. First it was way harder to watch my daughter in pain, it was hard to not be a part of the process, to step back and just be a spectator but it has been very, very easy to love this little person.
Luckily for me my daughter is open to my quirky and interesting traditions, so during the easy part of her labor I realized I had forgotten the dirt. I have a jar of dirt from Texas I placed under the gurney each time I had a baby so they could be born over Texas soil. I casually mentioned it because although I wanted to go get it, I couldn't intrude...exactly. Luckily my daughter was amiable so my husband went home to get it.
Now before you think I am completely mad, there is a some background to explain it. I was in second grade when my mother passed away and when I was in third grade my stepmother told me I was adopted. This was way before Oprah and we hadn't honed the skill of "talking things out". So when these monumental bits of information came my way I was expected to take it in but not react. After telling me my mother died, my father said, "we aren't going to talk about this any more." It was a terrible idea, but as I said it was before Oprah. For me it started a lifelong habit of my taking in big news and then filing it away never to look at it again. It was our families way to avoid pain and conflict, but like a broken leg, it can be ignored but the healing will be ineffective. I tried to do it with my heart event...yup I almost died, but I didn't so I will move on. That hasn't worked well either.
I was 12 when we moved from Texas and it felt as though I was leaving behind who I was. Everything in my life was fluid except being from Texas. The knowledge "the Eyes of Texas were upon me" was my salvation, a sanctuary so to say from real life. So when I put the dirt under the gurney for my children it was like a blessing for them from my childhood, and then to be able to continue it with our grandbaby was just sweet. I thank my daughter and son-in-law for letting me do it. I don't intend to barge into their lives with all my talismans, customs and traditions, I most definitely intend to honor their new family with respect and gratitude. Having children is a privilege and I am happy to be a part of my children's support group...like the person who drives the van next to the Ragnar racers (an intense relay race lasting 2 days) handing out food, water, juice and moral support...but not actually riding the bike or giving instructions as to how to ride.
Unraveling "learned behavior" isn't easy but I am determined to face life differently, to feel and then deal with emotions instead of filing them away. I will live my life with intention and action instead of letting life act upon me.
It is time.