Today we have the absolute honor of hearing from my hero, my mom, Kathy Stewart. Most of my friends refer to her as “Mama K”, as she has been a spiritual to mum too many over the years. She has been married for almost 35 years, and has skillfully parented somewhat semi functional awesome adults, and she is the best glammy granny in town! Make a cuppa, sit back, get comfy and enjoy!
INTRODUCING THE SILVER FOX
I fell hopelessly in love at the age of 18. Within 8 months, Louis and I were engaged, and 8 months after that, we got married. I had just turned 20, and Louis was 22 years old. Not today’s standards, we were babies ourselves. The only advice we were given: “Put God first, and make it work – no matter what.” Good advice, as this year will be our 35th anniversary.
Becoming a mom is an exciting, overwhelming experience. After two years of marriage we became parents, just before my 22nd birthday. I had only read one book on pregnancy, that was it – and I didn’t want to hear any birthing stories, I just wanted to go into that experience blissfully ignorant and happy. Not great advice, in hindsight, but I survived. Because there were some great, loving women in my life who made being a new mom easy, by offering loads of useful advice, and babysitting our gorgeous Cassan Lee at least once a week, so that we could have what is now known as ‘date night’ (then it was called “time out”)
I don’t know how I would have coped without my mother (who, although she didn’t live nearby, called every day and came for such welcome weekend visits), or my Italian mother in law, who always brought us yummy meals and adorable baby girl princess dresses for our little girl (I totally blame her for Cassan refusing to wear jeans for the first 6 years of her life).
My sisters in law were great too. I could call them any time. And I did. With every high temperature, new tooth, and accident (blood really gushes from the most random places, even with minor mishaps) I also made sure I had a good single friend, just to keep me young and help me remember that I was still a person, and not just a mother. This is important, ladies!
To sum it up :
Always have a strong support group of girlfriends around you – of all ages. You need their advice, their support, and good laughter especially when you are in tears. You need these great women, and they will need you too, believe me.
Take the time to enjoy being a mother, and take personal time out to recharge. No one has a perfect formula for raising children. Proverbs 22 v 6 says: Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
BEING A GRANDMOTHER
I couldn’t wait to become a grandmother, and I will admit that I probably drove my daughter and son in law nuts with my many hints. When the time finally came, I was super excited. I knew that I wanted to be a totally hands-on gran. My mom had missed out on much of my pregnancy, because she didn’t drive, and lived far away. With Cas, I got to go to the doctor with her, and to the magical ultrasound sessions. It was such an honour, and it drew us so much closer as a mom and daughter. We were all at the hospital when Malakai was born – this was unheard of in the 80’s. How ridiculous. You need your family with you: you are celebrating the miracle of life!
All Silver Foxes know that there is an elite club called the ‘Grandmother Club’.
These foxy members are always extremely happy, and brag non stop about their adorable grandchildren to anyone who will listen. They have been known to look with pity at you when you tell them you haven’t got grandchildren (yet), and soothingly tell you “Your turn will come, one day you’ll understand”. These foxy grans drove me crazy. I didn’t get it, until I became a silver fox.
There are just not enough words to describe how it feels to hold your own child’s baby in your arms. To watch your daughter become a mother, and find yourself taking on the role that your own mother had with your children. A strong, deep bond formed between Cassan, Malakai, and me from when we found out that Cas was pregnant.
When Malakai was born, I knew immediately that I’d give my life for him. I’d help his parents in any way possible to raise him. A fierce, protective love flowed from me to the flesh of my flesh. Suddenly I knew what the ‘Grandmother Club’ knew: this WAS the best deal possible. From when he was quite small, I could call anytime and request a date with my grandson. And vice versa ?
Sleepovers are the coolest. We laugh, tease each other, eat naughty stuff, and go to bed far too late. Grandpa sometimes tells us to keep quiet: we have even more fun then, because we can. These are our special Mali-moments. We’re making memories, and learning from each other. I’ve learnt to be a kid again. To roll on the grass, get soaked with a hosepipe. And Malakai has learnt about bed tents, and horsey rides, secret ‘sips’ of fizzy drinks, and of course, the important stuff like how to treat animals, how to swim, and how to climb up to see better out of the windows, and how to shout back at grandpa to keep quiet too!
I see so much of Cassan in Malakai. Mannerisms. Expressions. Humour. And of course, the desire to stay awake as late as possible, so as not to miss out on anything. Watching her grow into motherhood is a truly rewarding experience. She is patient, loving, fun, and tries very hard to be stern when needed. It’s tough, because Mali is a charmer. I’m a member of the ‘Grandmother’s Club’. It’s awesome. One day you’ll understand.
While we are celebrating mother’s day, remember this:
- Be a daughter to someone who has lost a child, or never had one.
- Be a mother to children who don’t have a mom, or a mother that they aren’t able to talk to about some important personal things.
- And now that I am a grandmother, ladies, try being a gran to a beautiful lady who doesn’t have one. She will need you more than you know.