Grandma angst

TEEN Lisa, left, with former BFF NormaAh, the teen years. The insecurity, the drama, the distorted image of yourself and your place in the world. The overwhelming angst of it all.

Thankfully we grow up, we become adults, we leave all that behind.

Until we become grandmothers.

In many ways, being a grandma is much like being a teen. It's rife with insecurity, jealousy, a need for acceptance and assurance from those we adore that we're good enough and that they really do like us as much as we like them.

Angst, once again, in all its ugliness.

Like teens, grandmas spend an inordinate amount of time pining over another. We're thrilled when the phone rings and it's a grandchild. We're distraught if the phone calls are few and far between.

We are always on the lookout for gifts to buy, cards to send, activities and ideas to share. We delight in the sharing, thrilled with the approval expressed by a giggle, smile, hoot, holler and hurray of "Thanks, Grandma!"

GRANDMA Lisa, with Baby Mac and Bubby We take more photos than we'll ever print then plead for more directly from the source. We keep copies on the computer, in scrap books, in brag books, on desktops and walls. And we point them all out to whomever, whenever, we can.

We want to hug and touch and squeeze the little ones with every fiber of our being. And when we're apart, phantom pains plague our days until we can once again hold them in our arms.

We profess our love in myriad ways and anxiously await the love to be returned. When that love isn't demonstrated in return as quickly or as often as we crave, we start to worry another may have taken our place. Another grandmother, in particular. Jealousy eats at our very core, but like a prideful teen, we grin and bear it in the face of our perceived nemesis, then spend hours licking our wounds in private.

We primp, preen and diet with the determination of narcissistic teens in hopes of being physically fit — and remaining so for years to come — to join in the games and activities of our youthful dears.

And we once again walk the thin line with Mom, balancing between wanting to say exactly what's on our mind but knowing she can keep us from hanging out with our heart's desire if what's on our mind upsets her, questions her authority, her ability. Only this time the mom with whom we verbally tangle and tussle isn't our birth mother, but the mother we birthed — our daughter. Or our daughter-in-law, wife of the father we birthed — our son. Crossing the line with either may result in being put on restriction, disallowed from seeing our grandchildren.

So we occasionally bite our tongues, bide our time. Which is okay, because through years of yearning and learning, we now know we won't die if we don't have our say, if we don't get our way.

And that right there is the difference.

As teens, we were extreme, always and overly dramatic. We wanted to be the one and only who made another's world go round. And every single moment felt to be one of do or die.

As grandmas, though, we've learned to temper the angst.

We accept that we won't always get what we want, that moments of insecurity will pass, that expressions of love from a child may wax and wane but that the love itself always remains, will always be there. Regardless of the frequency of phone calls made or received, the number of cards mailed, the piles of photos taken and shared.

Regardless of the amount of time spent together.

And, most fortunately, regardless of the amount of time spent apart.

Today's question:

What has been your most recent teen-like act or behavior, positive or not?

This post linked to Grandparent's Say It Saturday.