I have always been close to my mom. She was an only child and her mother, my bubbe, passed away when I was 1 year old. I am her only daughter. That means we are each the principle woman in the other’s life.
She came to London for three weeks to help before the birth, witness the birth and most importantly, to help us after. To say that she helped is an understatement of epic proportions. For two weeks I cried, fought fatigue, sat in pain and stared endlessly at the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me- Jonah. All the while my mother was in the wings assuring me, listening to me and loving my son fiercely as a new grandmother.
Each day in the hospital my mom would walk back & forth from our flat to support us during the long days of our learning curves. She would bring mail and messages from our loved ones, screen calls, bring treats, fetch midwives and entertain visitors. She learned to navigate a foreign neighborhood far from home. She helped us wile away the days of trying to wrap our heads around the life change and acted as our ace photojournalist. When we returned home, our flat was clean and homey, laundry would appear clean and folded, home-cooked meals nourished us when we were too busy to remember to shop or cook, errands were run by her every day and I am pretty sure at least 50 times a day I asked her to do something and 100 times a day she was jumping up to help. She was my gatekeeper to what I should have been doing and what I should have been avoiding. She waited to give advice or to hold the baby until it was solicited. She kept her own promise of being a support and a witness. In the most quiet moments I would catch her singing to Jonah and telling him the kind of wonderful and fantastical stories only a grandparent can conjure.
She soothed my breakdowns and in the quiet moments she shared a lot about the births of me and my brothers, what those early days were like for her, how we were as babies and the joys she has experienced as a mother. The stories and conversations are one of the things I will look back on and treasure from Jonah’s first weeks.
My stepdad joined us here for part of the time and received the wonderful gift of becoming a grandfather for the first time. Dan has no kids of his own, and I think was surprised at how powerful and good it feels to be Jonah’s buyuk baba. We are lucky to have him too. Jonah is already loved by many.
My mom was there in the room and watched him be born and she was the first grandparent to hold him. It was an honor I know she deeply respects. I want to be a mother that loves her children the way my mother loves hers. A book can tell me how to breastfeed but only my mother can make me believe I am doing a good job, and that I am a beautiful mom.
My mom left London on Friday and I missed her before she even went.