At 12:47 am, May 16, 2012 my life changed permanently. After almost 24 hours of my daughter's drug-free labor, many hurried texts to the father-to-be in the labor room, countless cups of horrible hospital coffee and several walks around halls, up and down stairs and out to the parking lot for some fresh air, I became the grandmother of a beautiful baby boy named Benjamin Alexander. 5 pounds 4 ounces of sweet perfection, complete with startling blue eyes, all twenty fingers and toes and a head full of wispy blonde hair. I looked into his eyes and my heart melted; he could do anything he ever wanted at Grammy's house (including riding our dog Cooper like a small horse) and I wouldn't mind. Anything. He. Wants.
As I walked out of the hospital in the wee hours of the morning, smiling and humming to myself, I couldn't wait to get home and start posting pictures and bragging on Facebook, after about 10 hours of sleep, of course. I got into my car, put the key in the ignition and turned it, and was immediately blasted awake by Korn screaming at me about feeling like a freak on a leash. Now, for the two of you who aren't familiar with Korn, let me put it this way. They are a lot like Pat Boone...if he were dreadlocked, tattooed, fed a TON of acid and handed an electric guitar and a set of bagpipes. And as I was driving out of the parking lot, bobbing my head up and down and singing along, it hit me: I'M A GRANDMA AND I'M LISTENING TO THE DEVIL'S MUSIC!
Okay, let me clarify. I don't really think Korn is the devil's music, but I suddenly seemed to be channeling my grandmother on my father's side. Grandma Genie was a sweet and sedate ministers wife who always wore floral-print dresses, knitted and crocheted blankets and sweaters and almost wore out her knees praying for the salvation of her granddaughter's rock and roll soul. I felt very insecure at the thought that I was supposed to start acting like a grandma, and grandma's aren't supposed to rock in anything but rocking chairs, right? Right.
Out of Denial, into De Nursery
I admit, during my daughter's pregnancy I questioned my ability to be a good grandma. I was the girl who once flashed the megatron at a Guns n' Roses concert; I got drunk in the school parking lot at 7 am on the first day of 11th grade. I lost my virginity in a graveyard, for crying out loud! How was I supposed to guide and teach my grandson when honestly, 21 years earlier, I had barely felt qualified to teach his mother anything? And then a realization hit me. I'm not supposed to be MY grandmother. She was a wonderful, patient woman whose taste in music and fashion I would still question if she were alive today. But couldn't I take the patience, the teaching, the homemade cookies and secrets that she shared with me and share those same things with Ben? Hadn't all the crazy life adventures I had made me a better, more open and aware mother to my own children? Did I really have to stop going to concerts, seeing friends' bands play, or cranking up Metallica's "Seek and Destroy" every time it came on the radio? A resounding HELL NO!!! Er, heck...heck no. Sorry Ben.
Lacy sweaters, gray buns and floral-print dresses aside, being a grandma is all about being worldly wise, a keeper of secrets and a giver of unconditional love. I can do all that in a leather vest without batting an eye. (Side note: spit-up cleans off leather much easier, too!) I know that what really matters is what's in my heart, not what's coming out of my speakers. I know that taking Ben to the zoo and park and beach will all be great, and hopefully I'll get the opportunity to take him to his first metal show as well! Rock on Ben...Grammy loves you!