My grandma always said that becoming a grandparent was like falling in love for the first time. After having an empty nest for awhile, I imagine most parents of adult children start to miss the pitter-patter of little feet (the kind that grace their hallway on occasion but don't keep them up at night). Parents can be an incredible lifeline for expectant mothers, but there are certain things only the best soon-to-be grandparents do for their pregnant daughter.
My mom always wanted us girls to get our educations and wait for the right person before we had a family. But once we were both past 30 and not married (and with her younger best friend already a grandma 17 times over), I think she started to get a little antsy. In a lesson in "be careful what you wish for," my brother's girlfriend and I not only got pregnant around the same time, but had the same due date. Both my mom and dad were over the moon at the prospect of two granddaughters, and they involved themselves in my pregnancy in the most adorable and helpful ways.
Take notes, all you future Mimis and Papas! We'd love for you to be a part of the process, and in the following ways:
They Get Informed
After three babies, my mom pretty much knew what pregnancy was all about. But my dad never get too involved when she was pregnant. So I about fell out of my chair when he informed me that he had The Bump bookmarked. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that when it came to his favorite kid (no, really — ask the others) having a kid, my dad employed his mad research skills.
They Bring Her What She Needs
Approximately 2.5 seconds after my mom found out I was pregnant, she showed up on my doorstep with a canvas tote full of goodies. I'm talking pregnancy books, a belly scrapbook, preggie pops, ginger ale, you name it. When my pregnancy hemorrhoids went from bad to truly heinous, she was at my side with individually wrapped prunes and granny panties.
They Take Her To Appointments
My husband works full-time and wasn't always available to accompany me to my prenatal visits. Later on, I was fine taking myself, but on one occasion in the first trimester I was too sick to drive. My parents actually picked me up from the school where I taught (yes, the nurse called my mommy) and handed me a plastic bag to barf in as we headed to the medical center.
They Laminate The Baby Fruit Size Chart
My dad has his own personal laminator at home because, you know, dads. It's a nice one, too. One day, he swung by my house to deliver the baby fruit size chart because he thought it would be fun for my third grade students to see. He also made himself a copy and sent periodic texts asking how his grandraspberry, grandorange, and grandpumpkin was doing.
They Get The Baby Adorable Clothes
Not all parents can afford to buy the nursery furniture or the travel system, but honestly, a little layette can mean just as much. My mom bought my unborn child a onesie and pants with a dog that looked just like ours on the butt, and my dad (who is a machinist at Boeing) picked up a pink hat with a smiling jumbo jet embroidered on it.
They're Heavy On The Sympathy
While my husband (understandably) grew tired of my constant whining, my parents were fountains bubbling "there, there" at regular intervals. When I threw up Christmas dinner, my dad rubbed my back said, "I'm so sorry, babe." My mom assured me that I wasn't overreacting and that my hemorrhoids really were the worst she'd ever seen (yes, I showed her — that's how you get the sympathy, you guys).
They're Just So Damn Excited
When you have a daily vomit date with your toilet, it can be hard to get excited about the impending addition to your family. The enthusiasm of grandparents, however, is infectious. Even on your worst day, they'll remind you that pregnancy is the best reason ever for feeling like a pile of hot garbage.
They Save The Day At The Shower
My mom hosted my baby shower in the meeting room of my grandma's assisted living facility so it would be easy for her to get there. Unfortunately, the flu was going around that week. The manager put up some signs asking people to stay away if they had symptoms to protect vulnerable residents, but it was a little confusing (like maybe they had the plague). My dad made signs that said, "Baby Shower Guest — It's Safe — Follow Signs" and put them in plastic sleeves to keep the rain off. He added a duck for good measure.
They're Ready When It's "Go Time"
I'm pretty sure my dad took work off the few days before my due date "just in case." Mom took up her post by the phone, and she didn't have to wait long. I went into labor on my due date, and headed to the hospital with my husband and sister about 12 hours later. Mom and dad showed up to the waiting room shortly after and were available for anything I needed (even when that meant keeping their distance).
They Love Her Baby Before They're Even Born
Now that I have a baby, I can only imagine what it might feel like to watch her grow a baby. I loved my baby the moment I knew she was real, and I think my parents must have seen a little piece of themselves in her. They loved her when she was just a little poppy seed, and they showed it to me in all the amazing ways they supported me before she made her grand entrance into this world.