This pregnancy my thoughts have often turned to my Grandma Majeran who passed away a few years ago. She didn't have an easy life. She got married when she was thirty years old and ended up having ten children. My mind can not even fathom being pregnant ten times, giving birth ten times...and after turning thirty. They didn't have a lot of money. Her husband drank too much and didn't offer her a lot of gentleness or kindness.
I've never heard any of her ten children gush about how incredible a mother she was. I haven't heard "she was an angel mother" or "I always felt she was really there for me" or anything else frothy with lovely praise. I have memories of hearing things like "Kate just did her best to survive" and "she had a hard life" For this reason I never really considered giving my grandmother much credit until now. Physically she dealt with so much more than I have even caught a glimpse at in my own life. Now, when I think of what she endured as a wife and a mother I can't help to think that she actually was an incredible woman for the huge feat of survival. She didn't just survive though, my grandmother had and somehow kept a sense of humour. She was funny, sometimes maybe she didn't even mean to be but I remember her ability to see the humourous side of even difficult situations. She didn't seem to take life too seriously and somehow she didn't become bitter or cranky despite her difficult life.
I remember going into her garage and saying that I really liked a guitar that was sitting in the corner "If you like it, just take it" she shrugged with a smile. Later I found out that guitar wasn't even hers. It was one of my aunts. She bought her grandchildren scratch and win tickets for Christmas gifts. I don't ever remember actually winning anything but scratching those tickets as a kid was kind of exciting. My grandma was told a few times that smoking wasn't allowed in the assisted living home she moved into. She got caught smoking one too many times and got kicked out. Kicked out of an assisted living home!
My grandma marched to the beat of her own drum and I wonder what kind of woman she would have been if she hadn't been as overwhelmed as she was with a difficult marriage and ten lively children. I think about this because the past seven months I've seen the worst of me and wonder if I was stuck being pregnant seven more times if my kids would have anything good to say about me. But I'm not in that situation, this will be our last child and I'll be myself again, and there's a good chance that my kids will have good things to say about me. And I think of Grandma Majeran and think "but for the grace of God there go I."