"Black Swan," the grandma version

A letter to my daughter:

Dear Megan,

I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't comment on the blog post you wrote about your gratitude for Preston's grandma -- Bubby's great-grandma -- who came through for you when you needed a babysitter for sick Bubby last week. I know the absence of a comment from me was rather conspicuous as I have commented on every one of your posts since you started your 365 Days of Gratitude series. Except that one.

Here's the thing: Everything I considered saying would have come across as snarky and insincere. Maybe not to others, but certainly to me. Because I know that inside I have a growing resentment -- maybe more accurately, a growing disappointment -- that when you and Preston chose to move to the desert to be equally removed from both your parents in the mountains and his in the midwest as you started your life together, it ended up meaning -- unintentionally, I know -- that his grandma, who lives less than an hour from the destination you chose, automatically by virtue of proximity, got the role in your life and Bubby's (and soon Birdy's, too) that I wanted.

I agree that Preston's grandma is a wonderful person for Bubby, and I'm glad you have help when you need it. But, like I said, that's the role I wanted, and it saddens me to see the glowing reviews she gets for doing what I want to do. Her role should be great-grandma; the role of grandma should be played by me. But because I'm far away, I lost out. In so many ways.

Further salt in the wound, once Preston's parents move there this year as they've planned, followed by his sister and her fiance and, eventually I'm sure, his brother, I'll lose out even more -- your family will lose out more -- as his entire family will have the role in your lives that your family wants. Or at least wants an equal share of. But because your lives and home are there and our lives and home -- which we won't leave -- are here, we get the secondary role.

Yes, it was all unintentional. And yes, there's nothing you can do about his family moving there. But still, I'm resentful. I'm disappointed. And pats on the back for successfully maintaining a long-distance relationship with my daughter and my grandchildren are of little consolation. I don't like the long-distance role; I want a role with more stage time. I know it simply can't be -- regardless of the reasons why -- but that doesn't make it any easier.

I'm a young grandma and it's fairly early in the grandparenting phase, so I know I will eventually have the role I want: the role of doting grandmother who gets weekly interaction, who covers babysitting shifts on a regular basis and in emergencies, who hosts Easter and Christmas gatherings for family who won't travel on those holidays, who attends Grandparents Day at school, who attends children's recitals at church. I will get that; I know that. Unfortunately, it just won't be with your children, my first grandchildren. And it won't be for quite some time, as your sisters certainly -- luckily, actually -- won't be having kids any time soon.

So in the meantime, while I wait to garner that role of a lifetime, I will do my best to not come across as snarky, to not appear resentful, to not wear my disappointment on my sleeve regarding the role I desperately wanted, the role I sadly missed out on.

Which is exactly why I didn't comment on your post.


Today's question:

What role have you missed out on, in personal or professional situations or otherwise?