Becoming A Grandparent For The First Time

19th September 2016

This week sees the 1st birthday of my first grandchild Rory, and so I thought it was appropriate to look at my first full year as a grandparent.

I can remember the exact day my daughter announced that she was pregnant. It was my 52nd birthday and all my family were gathered at my house for the usual birthday celebrations. My daughter had placed a scan photo in my birthday card and it honestly was the biggest shock of my life. We were madly rushing round planning her wedding which was to take place just a few months later. So a baby announcement took me totally by surprise.


my first grandparent card

My birthday card telling me I was going to become a Grandma.



After the shock had subsided I can remember feeling very protective of my daughter, which looking back, was only natural. Regardless of all my children’s ages I have always remained protective of them. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away. Perhaps that is a mother’s instinct and one that we never lose, no matter how much we try.

I also felt SO proud, like a peacock strutting around, head held high. I was going to be a Grandmother and it felt amazing. And yes, I told EVERYONE, even people I didn’t actually know. I remember telling a lady in the queue at Marks and Spencer that I was so excited to be a grandma. Not sure what she thought of me but her cautious smile probably hid the fact she was secretly terrified. Perhaps she thought I was some unstable, menopausal woman who had been let loose in town for an afternoon.


my first picture as a grandparent

My precious scan picture of my new grand child.

Anyway the next few months was a busy one for us as a family, and the pregnancy took a back seat while we planned my daughter’s wedding. Amid the traumas with the flowers ( I was making all the bouquets ), the dress fittings and the reception decorations, the forthcoming birth of my first grandson was lost in all the commotion. We had a lovely wedding and the months seemed to fly past with endless shopping trips, buying way too many baby outfits and toys. Then suddenly September arrived. And then the realisation hit me. I was soon to become a grandma for the first time. And arrive he did. Beautiful Rory arrived just about on time and my life changed in an instant.


grandparent at last to this tiny little boy

I saw my daughter and her son the day after he was born and I remember such an overwhelming feeling of so many mixed emotions. I felt pride, love, bewilderment, unbelievable happiness and sadness. Why the sadness I hear you say ? I know this seems an unusual emotion, but as I first set eyes on my daughter and her new son I immediately thought of my beloved dad who had passed away suddenly just two years earlier. I had suffered dreadfully from my father’s sudden death and it had sent me into a spiral of depression and bouts of terrible sadness. I saw my new grandson in my daughter’s arms and I thought of my dad. How he would have loved to have been there, seeing his new great grandson. Funny how such joyful events can leave a tinge of sadness with us, but I am sure that’s quite common.

So the past twelve months of my grandson’s life have been amazing for me. Everytime I see him and hold him I count it as a blessing. I LOVE been a grandma ( although I am known as Nanna to Rory ). I have experienced so many different emotions that come with becoming a grandparent for the first time.

The biggest change for me was the feeling that I had moved up a generation. I suddenly felt like I was the head of the family, whereas before I was just part of it. I looked at my mum, Rory’s great grandma and suddenly realised and appreciated all she had done for me and my children when they were growing up. I honestly had never appreciated our parents enough and I am ashamed to say I probably took their help for granted at the time.

I also was struck by the weird feeling that time had passed by so quickly. I wasn’t sure where the time had gone. It didn’t seem two minutes since my daughter was born and yet here she was cradling her own son. I am sure those of you who are my age are suddenly struck by this realisation that time has flown by. Do you find yourself looking at photos thinking ‘ that seems like yesterday’. Are you shocked at the fact you are where you are in life ?

The funny thing is that when I am out shopping for baby clothes or toys the memories all come flooding back. It’s like so many things have remained the same. The style of baby clothes, the toys, the books and even the baby food sat on the shelf at Boots brought back a feeling of deju vu. Of course the pram styles have changed dramatically with the traditional Silver Cross pram now almost unheard of. The younger generation of mothers prefer prams that look more like road buggies. I know, I am sounding old fashioned myself but I’m sure you get the idea.


gifts bought by grandparent

I think the biggest feeling is of pride for my daughter as I watch her go through motherhood. She is such a calm, relaxed mother while still keeping high standards for her son as she wants nothing but the best for him. Motherhood can never be taught and I am so proud of her with the way she has taken to becoming a mother for the first time. As we all know been a mother is not easy, but it is the most rewarding and beautiful experience of my life. I am so blessed to have been the mother of three beautiful daughters and now the grandmother of a beautiful grandson.



In the last year I have experienced some amazing things with my grandson. As a grandparent I have pushed him on a swing in the park. I have held him while he gets excited at seeing farm animals for the first time.  I have fed him dinner while he spits it out over my top.  I have pushed him in his pram on country walks till he falls asleep. I have laid on the floor playing with musical toys and talking bears. I have read books to him again and again, usually the same book. I have revisited watching Disney films with him and I probably love our movie afternoon more than he does. Oh, there are so many amazing moments that I have experienced as a new grandparent and it is so hard to comment on them all.

As I sit here surrounded by his birthday presents I have bought, I know how blessed and lucky I am to experience the presence of a grand child in my life. Rory has only been here a year but it feels like he has been in my life forever. I just cannot describe the immense feeling of love I get when I see him. It’s so unlike anything I have experienced before. Somehow it seems to be all wrapped up in the overwhelming love I have for my daughter, his mother.

I honestly cannot wait for the next chapter in my life as a grandparent as Rory goes into the next stage of his life as he becomes a toddler. I saw him walk for the first time this weekend and it was so lovely watching him take his first tentative steps into independence. The next twelve months will be amazing. I cannot wait to report back in a year’s time with a review on his second year of life.

Until then my friends, I have a lot of presents that need wrapping for his birthday this week. Don’t worry I won’t be the embarrassing grandma that sings loudly at every birthday party, but I will be counting my blessings as I spend the day with Rory and my wonderful family at his birthday party.


been a grandparent for a year

Have you any thoughts about your time as a grandparent ? Are you looking forward to becoming a grandparent for the first time ? I would love to hear from you.

Until next time

Much Love

Susanna xx


4 responses to “Becoming A Grandparent For The First Time”

  1. Marilynne Lambert says:

    Helio Sue,

    Treasure it all while Rory is young. As sadly in this day and age as they get older they do have the same respect for their Grandparents that we had. When we could not wait to spend the day with our Grandparents as their Knowledge was so exciting and we learnt so much from then. They had time to show us how to make special things.
    I have time to show my two how do so much but they just do not want to know!!! They think that I know nothing!!! My eldest as you know is now in Uni near Barcelona for three years. Before she left I asked her to sit down and I would show her a Hidden Hem stitch etc in case she had to do a quick mend on her clothes! She did not want to know. (Even though she was taking a small sewing kit with her!!) That is just one example but there are lots of things like this. The youngest is a lot, lot worse and thinks that I am good for nothing!!! Is always rude to me and has no respect at all. Which makes it very hard. She will only referee to me by my first name! I am always polite to her like after I have entered her home I alway Hello, how are you? She either totally ignores me or tells me to stop bugging her. Yes it hurts. I sooooo hope little Rory will alway want to come for visits as he grows and loves what his Nana has to share with him. These are special time. I just get so very sad about mine. Friends seem to take the place of Grandparents in their teens these days. I so hope as they get into their twenties thirties etc etc that they will remember their Grandee and how I loved them!! Sorry for the moan. Just enjoy.

    • Susanna says:

      I know Marilynne, the role of grandparents is not as it used to be. Traditionally the grandparents were the head of the family and were always treated with respect. Look at families in places like Italy and Greece where grandparents play a huge role in the family and often live with their extended family. I think youngsters today think differently to certainly when I was bringing up my children. The kids of today have so many other distractions that family do tend to take a back seat in their lives. As well I do think the parents have a lot to play in the role of keeping grandparents close to the family. Sometimes grandparents can feel isolated away from family because their own children don’t emphasise the importance of keeping the bond with the grandparents. This can be because of distance as many families don’t live close like they used to. But I think you are right. Most children today don’t think the same of their grandparents as we certainly used to. It is a shame. xx

  2. Karen says:

    This post resonates with me so much Susanna. My grandson is almost two years old now and I can honestly say it is a privilege and a pleasure to have him in my life. I keep saying I can’t remember my children doing this or that … as you say time goes past so quickly. So I’m savouring every moment … and last weekend I heard him say ‘where’s grandma’. My heart melted.

    • Susanna says:

      Aw that’s so sweet Karen. I can remember the first time Rory said ‘Nanna’ I was so tearful. It was just the most perfect moment. Sometimes I am shocked that the time has flown past so quick and I have grandchildren. It seems like yesterday that I was giving birth to my own ! And here I am – a Nanna of one grandson aged nearly 3 and a new grandchild due any day. Exciting times ! xx

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