An Ode To The Grandmothers That Raise Their Grandchildren

May 10, 2020  |  

Grandmother and granddaughter

Source: FatCamera / Getty

Being raised by my grandparents was different. They were older than all my friend’s parents, much stricter and the epitome of old school. They had a different parenting style that I didn’t understand until now.

My grandparents adopted me, so I have called my grandmother my mom from day one. She gave up her golden years of retirement to raise me to protect me from foster care, being adopted by complete strangers and being left to wonder who my biological family is. After raising three children already who were well into their adult years, she returned to having sleepless nights, changing diapers and chasing around a toddler. Instead of sleeping in late everyday and doing whatever her heart desired after retiring, she woke up in the wee hours of the morning to get me ready for school every single day. Whether she was sick, tired or just plain sick and tired of me, she put it aside and always put me first. With older age comes illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. Through the aches, pains and sickness mommy always took care of me before she took care of herself. If she had a few extra dollars and wanted to treat herself, she didn’t. She met my needs. During her annual trips to South Carolina with my father (who is my grandfather), even if she wanted to leave me behind she never did. She let me tag along on every vacation. This time in her life was supposed to be all about her, but instead she made it about me and I will be forever grateful.

My mother did what many grandmothers have done and are still doing: sacrificing their later years in life to raise yet another generation. They are not obligated to do so. Their grandchildren are supposed to be visitors. Grandmothers are supposed to offer guidance to their adult children as they embark on their own parenting journey. But many grandmothers have found themselves going another round in motherhood for various reasons. After raising their own children, the goal is to live child-free and care-free days as they take back control of their life and get to redefine the latter years. Grandmothers across the world have forfeited that dream becoming reality to take care of their grands. On this Mother’s Day, the babies who were taken in and raised by their grandmothers want to tell you that we will always honor you. To my mother Doris and the other selfless grandmothers, we celebrate you today and everyday. Thank you. Thank for the elaborate southern meals. Thank you for allowing me to love hip-hop even though you didn’t want me listening to such vulgarity. Thank you for saving me.

And to the mothers who saw that they weren’t ready to be a mother and called on their mothers to take the lead, we thank you too. We wouldn’t be who we are if you didn’t.

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