When I found out my daughter was pregnant, I made a promise to her unborn child that I would fulfill a role in her life that was vacant in mine.
I grew up without grandparents. Well, for the most part. My father’s mother died when I was around 10-years-old. I remember vividly when that happened. My father had taken me to the dentist and while in the chair, and nurse came in and told him he had an emergency call. He left the room and when he came back in, he was ashen, sullen looking. I asked what was wrong and he said his mother had passed away. I never met her. The only story I know of her was recounted by my dad in one of those rare moments when he spoke about his family. His mother slipped into severe alcoholism after his dad died at a young age. My father was seven or eight. He lost touch with his mother and finally tracked her down in a flophouse when he was 17. He held her hand and guided her signature on a document stating he had permission to join the Army as a minor.
On my mom’s side, there is a similar story. Her father died before she was born. He was a soccer player on a national team and suffered a brain injury when he hit the ball with his head. My grandmother remarried and my mom’s stepfather died in a motorcycle accident when she was nine. Her mother was unbelievably abusive and was in one relationship after the next. Though I’d met her several times, she didn’t like me and we never bonded.
I missed having grandparents and was envious of the relationships my friends had with their grands.
I made the solid promise to be in Ayla’s life from the moment she entered the world. I was there when she was born, and I cut the cord. I have been present from day one. I know I have imprinted on her and she will always carry the memories of our times together. I love that little girl so much. I am grateful to have the opportunity to hold her, snuggle with her, play with toys, read books, and just interact. I am grateful to my daughter for bringing that little angel into the world and into our lives.