Recently, I’ve been given the gift of fresh perspective. I’m not talking about clean windows or rearranged furniture; I’m referring to perspective that can only be gained from a change in circumstances or life experience. And this one, let me assure you, is a biggie.
I am about to become a grandmother. I don’t at all mean this as a boast, but if you’ve seen the headshot that accompanies my written pieces, you will—hopefully—agree that I seem too young to be a grandmother. Truth be told: I am. I was sixteen when I became a mother for the first time. Thankfully, my daughter did not beat me to motherhood; she is a twenty-year-old mother-to-be. Still admittedly young, but in a much better place than I was when I gave birth for the first time. It is precisely this unexpected juxtaposition I have to thank for the fresh perspective I referred to earlier.
By becoming a mom at sixteen, I didn’t have enough life experience under my belt from which to draw, to rely on. I had little choice but to take each day as it came, sort of rolling the dice with every decision I made. Those truly were tumultuous times in my life—not ones I necessarily miss. Yet, the person I’ve grown into is the result of persevering through lonely, stressful and confusing circumstances. I don’t by any means grieve who I’ve become, but I do wish that my sweet baby girl hadn’t been required to come along for the ride during those difficult years.
I had hoped that my daughter would finish college and get married before she started a family. During her teen years I tried with all my might to impress upon her the importance of doing so. But much like her mother, that girl has a will and a mind all her own; she goes her own way. That is where my fresh perspective comes in. With twenty years of hindsight, I have the luxury of looking back on a beautiful life—a life harder than it needed to be, but a life beautiful nonetheless.
In my twenties I spent a great deal of time existing within a tangle of stress. My plans were rigid and my course was stretched taut before me. And then along came the man I now know as my husband and—just like that—it all went out the window. I’m better today than I was then.
Lately, I haven’t been able to pass a toddler in the grocery store without looking just a second too long, imagining what my first grandchild might look like, how her voice will sound, the bounce of her curls. It would be easy to fall back in to a pattern of taut—to a tangled web of worry for both her and her mother. I’m choosing a different approach. I’m choosing to rest in faith, knowing full well that my plans aren’t always the best ones. And that, just like her mother, my daughter will look back in twenty years and see in the rearview an inexplicably beautiful life, no matter how bumpy the road to get there.