On Becoming a Granny
December 14, 2018
Guest contributor Ton Thi Thu Nguyet
The words "granny, granny" sound so sweet coming from a child born when one’s granny is still alive. I was an unfortunate child because my grandma had passed away when I was born. I only saw her photo on the altar when my mom took me to my uncle's house to observe the anniversary of her death, a Vietnamese custom.
In my mind, she was like a fairy. She sat holy-like on an old style wooden chair while holding a fan made of goose-feather. Her hair was completely black. I was also told that her polished-black teeth from areca nut and betel leaf added to her charming smile even at an old age. It is considered typical for Vietnamese beauty. This image remains deeply etched in my mind and heart.
Having been born without a grandma, I always wished to remain healthy until I had a grandchild. At age 54, my wish came true. I can’t express my feeling at the moment of my grandson's birth. He was so lucky to be held by his grandma who took him from the arms of the midwife. I put him in a tiny cradle filled with the happiness from both his mom and his grandma.
Every two hours, he would open his eyes. When he looked at me with a special flash, I knew he was hungry. Unable to wait, he cried until he woke up his mother from her tired and paintful sleep.
I love them both as if they were my drops of blood. We were three generations together in a small room at the hospital. I could feel three layers of happiness. While showering them with motherly love, I began to think about my own mom who passed away when I was only 10. That's why I feel my daughter, MyMy, was as unlucky as I was because there was no grandmother to hold her as I did for her son.
The maternal link exists as a vain of blood in our bodies. Once the child hurts, the mother feels more painful, and the mom's mom feels even ten times more painful, and so forth. That demonstrates how great the love of a grandma is for her grandchild. The truth is that when I just had my daughter, I loved her the most. I still miss her so much when we are separated. I would sacrifice everything for her. But since I became a grandma, all of these feelings are now reserved for my grandson. I am certain that my daughter will have the same feeling once she becomes grandma. In Vietnam, we have a very famous saying about the family love: “Tears always flow to the lower gap.”
Time flies! I have been in the position of grandma for 10 years now. I feel satisfied with my grandson as he is growing and getting better year by year. Now my grandson and I are the same height. Even if we are far away, we can still see each other every evening via video. Sometimes, we three generations gather together for the holidays here and there or out of the country.
Wishing to live or living to wish, whatever it is, I wish to become a great-grandma in my 80s. Then I will be able to witness my daughter feeling the joy of becoming a grandma!
Legend of the areca nut and betel leaf in Vietnam