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She is my daughter. She is not my granddaughter.

 She is my daughter not my granddaughter

 

She is my daughter. She is not my granddaughter.

I am old enough to be my daughter’s grandmother. I will be fifty-six this fall. My daughter was born in 2002 when I was forty-three years old.

I know I could die my hair to avoid the comments. The hair on my head is brown with grey on the sides. I wear it long.

The woman handing out bulletins at the entrance to church said, “How nice of you to bring your granddaughter to church.”

“She is my daughter.”

And the lady we bought the dog from asked my daughter, “Is this your grandmother?”

“No, she is my mom.”

And the nurse at the hospital, eight years ago when my husband had an emergency appendectomy, said to my three children, “That’s so nice that your grandmother brought you to visit your dad.”

“She’s our mom.”

I was Hannah weeping outside the temple praying for a child. I was not drunk. I was distressed.  God answered my prayer.
He gave me three children.

God answered my prayer when I was thirty-six, forty, and forty-three. And in between the birth of my three children I had four miscarriages.

I will not die my hair, to avoid the questions and comments.  I have grey hair and fine lines around my eyes. This is me.

Why am I embarrassed? 

Why does a simple assumption about my age and my child embarrass me? Like there is something wrong with being a mom who is old enough to be a child’s grandparent.

I married when I was 31. For the first six years of our marriage I did not conceive. Tests, repeated tests, daily temperature charting ovulation, drugs and no baby.  And women would ask:  all – the – time.

“When are you going to have a baby? Don’t wait too long. You are older. Hey, I just got pregnant this month, why don’t you get pregnant next month, and we can have our babies at the same time?”

As though getting pregnant was like ordering a pizza. You order the pizza and it gets delivered.

I was embarrassed to be an older mom. I felt defective. My eggs were slow to release, or my eggs hid from the sperm all the years the sperm were trying to find the egg, they didn’t work right. As though I should feel shame to look old enough to be my daughters grandmother.

The truth?

A baby is a gift at any age. There are no rules about the right time to conceive or not conceive.

My children are fearfully and wonderfully made.

She is my daughter.

And I am her mother.

———————-

I would love to chat with you.  Do you ever get mistaken for your child’s grandmother?
Please tell me in the comments.

 

 

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

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44 Replies

  1. thanks for this awesome post

  2. Gholamhossein.2

    hello pamela and your daughter.
    your daughter is cute and beautiful

  3. jane williams

    … my mom was 40 when she had me. And she was asked all the time if i was her granddaughter. ( She didn’t dye her hair either.)
    She is my hero, and I wouldn’t change a THING about her.

    1. Hello Jane,
      Your mommy sounds cool. I would love to meet your hero with the gray hair. She raised a daughter with a beautiful smile.
      xo
      Pamela

      1. jane williams

        You’ll meet her in heaven where she made it a little more heavenly 8 years ago… feels like yesterday.

  4. Cindy Fincher

    Pamela, Love. love your post. Yes, you are blessed to have three children and I rejoice with you that your prayers were answered! Thank you for sharing your story.. I will share…:)

    1. Hello Cindy,
      Thank you for your kind words. I do feel blessed.

  5. People are so strange sometimes. I
    If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.
    You don’t look like a grandmother to me. You are lovely.

    1. And you are lovely too Patricia.
      Today I will pretend my tongue is made of glass, maybe then the words that fall out of it will be kind and not sharp.

      1. Thank you Pamela. We are Mighty Girl Heroes.

    2. On Press

      You have used the Poem Tongues Made of Glass by the Poet Shaun Shane without credit to him. This Shane’s Publisher On Press. Here are two links to offical postings of Shaun Shane’s Tongues Made of Glass http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/04-tongues-made-of-glass/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL_BUE-kGyw

      1. I apologize as it was not intentional. The poem was not used in any way. A comparison was made between people saying ugly things and how much more careful they would be if their tongue were made of glass.

  6. Sanae

    What an encouragement to read this post of yours Pamela! Thank you for sharing! I got married at the age of 26 and had to wait for 13 years after that to be blessed with a daughter by adoption. Also without any expectations rather by a surprise, we were blessed with a son when I was 45. Yes it was definitely a challenging period to wait to be a mum for such a long time and during that time, I cried like Hannah and received some comments and questions which were not easy to answer!! However, I am so grateful that I have two children who give me joy and energy each day and I can say God does have a special plan for everyone in His time. Now I often get together with my (almost 4 years old) son’s friends with their mum who are almost 10-20 years younger than me but I enjoy spending time with them. Yes, I sometimes feel some generation gap, but I feel I learn something from them and also they can learn from me.. I feel blessed to have variety of connections/friendships with so many because of my age and kids’!! Amen to A baby is a gift at any age.

    1. Hello Sanae,
      Your daughter by adoption and your son by birth are such blessings. I remember fondly our time together in Japan before I moved to the United States and you married Paul and moved to England. We didn’t know when we were friends in Tokyo and single, how our lives would turn out. But God knew.
      I treasure your friendship.
      Yes, Amen to a a baby is a gift at any age.
      My friends are younger too Sanae.

  7. Kendra Burrows

    Interesting. My husband (60) gets mistaken for his kids’ grandfather all the time (they’re 15 and 20). He thinks it’s funny. It never occurred to me – but now I powerfully get it! – that it would be different for a woman. Thanks for sharing your story. On a lighter note, come move to the south hills of Eugene, OR – almost all the parents at our kiddos’ schools are older than the “norm,” ;-)

    1. Hello Kendra,
      You are very welcome.
      I would love to live in Eugene Oregon, we could meet for coffee and go for a walk in the woods.
      People outside of the norm are often looked at as different. If I wasn’t willing to be different, I would have no children. So I keep smiling and love my children with my gray hair. All the best to you and your babies.

  8. Kathy Storrie

    Yes, I understand what you’re saying. My hubby and I were 46 and 45 when I finally conceived after 20 yrs. (Call me Sarah) When our son was 10 we were eating at a restaurant and a father and his young son sat down next to us. He was friendly and assumed our son was our grandson. We smiled and said he was our miracle son. After the man prayed over their meal he said something like a prophecy. He said, “I sense that there is an anointing on your son by God because he has the wisdom and guidance of both his parents and grandparents.” I stopped worrying that day over our son’s real grandparents all being gone but one.

    1. Hello Kathy, or Sarah,
      Praise God for your son, a true blessing. A miracle son. Yes, babies are a gift at any age. Bring on the gray hair.

  9. Tara

    Ah, this is beautiful A baby is a gift at any age – and what a lovely young lady she is now!

    1. Hello Tara,
      Thank you. I love my little blessing.

  10. Diane Andeson

    Yes, it’s happened to me. I was 41 when my youngest daughter was adopted. Funny thing is, along with the grandma comments, I’ve always gotten comments about how she looks just like me…or my husband…or my son (also adopted, completely different birth parents)…
    I so agree with you, a child is a gift of God at any age. I can’t imagine what my life would be without my children!

    1. Good Morning Diane,
      Your children are such a gift. Yes,” a child is a gift of God at any age.” I wonder why people make the grandma comments?
      I wouldn’t trade my life because then I wouldn’t have the children I have now.

  11. Stacey Shubitz

    I don’t understand why people feel the need to make comments and assumptions because of the way they think someone looks. First off, you do not look old enough to be your daughter’s grandmother. (My grandmother was 65 years older than me so perhaps this is why I feel this way.)
    I had Isabelle right before my 34th birthday. As a result, I’ve had lots of people tell me that I need to get going if I want to have number two because I’m already advanced maternal age. Seriously, I don’t know what gives people the right to think they can make comments like that. First off, we haven’t decided for sure that we’re going for #2. And second, and more important, what if I was trying and couldn’t conceive. Like you said, getting pregnant is not like ordering a pizza.

    Be proud of your wrinkles, grays, and long hair. Keep being who you are!

    1. Hello Stacey,
      Oh dear, I am so sorry people are telling you to hurry on #2 because you are so old. And you not old. 96 is old. When was it ever polite to give unsolicited advice, especially about something so personal?
      And then I just want to ask them, “How many times a week are you intimate with your husband?”
      Sigh, I know being nosy back is not nice, but I do want to.
      People have no idea how their intrusive questions hurt when a couple is trying and can’t conceive. And maybe it is just because the sperm decided to swim to the left and the egg was on the right side?

      Thank you Stacey,
      I will keep being me.

  12. La McCoy

    I really try to steer away from casual judgmental comments. Labeling people. Why is it anyones casual business. Maybe a teacher or a doctor needs to know. But paper work was filled out prior to meeting them so they do not need to ask. judging each other. is that our purpose in life? or is it to love each other.

    1. Hello Laura,
      Yes, our purpose is to love each other not to judge. I have said silly comments myself, when my mouth was more open than my brain.
      Babies are a blessing at any age. Let us love all of them.

  13. Julie-Anne Mauno

    Pamela, I loved this post. I just attended my sis in law’s first birth. She is 42. It was a beautiful birth and so amazing to see her welcome her son into her arms after all those years of waiting to be a wife and a mom. She would be very encouraged to read this post. I will share it with her! Blessings!

    1. Hello Julie-Anne,
      How exciting to be at the birth of your sis in law’s first birth. You must be on her list of loved and treasured people to see her baby arrive. Please say hello from me. I am praying for her and her son.
      Thank you for sharing my story with her. Blessings to you and your family.

  14. Berdeane Bodley

    Pamela Jane, you are a beautiful Mother & you will be a beautiful Grandmother when the time comes, my Mother & my Grandmother were pregnant at the same time, Mom with her 1st (my brother Roy) & Grandmother with her last (Auntie Dodie), Dodie & I were shopping at Safeway years later, I with you & your brother in tow, Auntie Dodie with Brenda & Philip, when she went to pay for her groceries with her family allowance check, the cashier said, “Oh I’m sorry Mam, we do not take old age pension checks”, to which Auntie Dodie informed her the check was her family allowance check. The cashier just stumbled over her words, her face got red………one should never assume………babies are a blessing sent to us from God.

    1. Hi Mom,
      I remember you telling me that story. Auntie Dodie and you were so close in age.
      Yes, babies are a blessing sent to us from God. Just like mom’s are sent to the babies from God.
      You are a good mommy, mom.

  15. There is a certain freedom in being unashamed and a definite comfort in being comfortable in our own skin. Bloom where, when and how you’re planted. Thank you Pamela as always.

    1. Hello Michael,
      I like what you said, about being comfortable in our own skin. Sometimes other peoples skin looks easier or better. The “if only I …was taller, or could carry a tune, or run faster.”
      Today I will bloom in Pennsylvania as you bloom where you live in Portugal. Hello to your family, and best wishes.

  16. Kay Kulp

    I was 41 when my youngest was born. My oldest was 14. On the first occasion, at the library, a woman made comments about my “granddaughter” and I found it awkward to explain that she was my daughter. Then, on a field trip, with my oldest pushing the stroller, another woman commented on my “granddaughter”. After I explained and the woman moved away, my oldest expressed her anger and humiliation that the woman assumed that she, at 14, was the mother to her sister. For us the issue of mistaken generations became more annoying because of the implication that my daughter was a teen mother than the fact that I looked “too old” to have a baby.

    1. Hello Kay,
      Yes, I can imagine how angry your oldest daughter must have been to be mistaken for her sister’s mother.
      You are a young mother Kay, I would never mistake you for your daughter’s grandmother.
      And I am realizing the comments were not made with intentional malice, my concern was in how the comments made me feel. Now I realize I don’t have to feel bad. I am blessed, why feel bad?

  17. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. LOVED it. My mother was once mistaken as our little brother’s grandmother. It made her feel awful. She was in her early 40′s and had a lot of gray.

    I appreciate your openness in sharing your child-bearing story. My sister used to think the word “pregnant” and she’d be pregnant. It took me three years to get pregnant, then I had my son. Three years later I had a miscarriage. And then three years later Jessica.

    Thanks for sharing the story.

    1. Good Morning Anne,
      Thank you for your encouragement. :)
      I can imagine how uncomfortable your mother must have felt. Gray makes a woman look older, probably because most woman die their hair.

      Your babies were truly a blessing. I wonder if we appreciate our blessings more if we have to wait for them?
      You are very welcome.

      1. Before I had Nathan I was told I was pregnant. Then after a LONG walk I started bleeding. They told me after a test I was NOT pregnant. I’ve often wondered if that was also a miscarriage. Then when Nathan was born I was ecstatic. Yes, my children mean a lot to me.

  18. Christa Sterken

    This is beautiful Pamela

  19. My birth mother was 21 when she had me. My adoptive mother was 49 when she brought me home from the hospital. I don’t know if anyone ever thought I was her granddaughter. I got pregnant at 16. For years, the twins and i could all pass as sisters. Sadly, neither of the twins can conceive. One has three adopted children. All were adopted when she and her husband were well into their 30s. Whenever the Lord chooses to give children, natural or otherwise, is a miracle. They are truly blessings.

    1. Shelley,
      Your birth was a blessing, and the birth of your twins too. I love what you wrote. “Whenever the Lord chooses to give children, natural or otherwise, is a miracle. They are truly blessings.”
      And Shelley? your friendship is a blessing too.
      If you every write your story, may I stand in line to be the first to read it?

      1. That just touched my heart. Thank you. And, yes. You may be.

  20. Pamela – I don’t have children, but my own Mom was 42 when I was born. (My father was 51.) They were married ten years before their first child, my older brother, was born. Another twelve years would pass before I came along. So yes, they could have been my grandparents. If anyone mistook them for grandparents, I wasn’t aware and I wasn’t embarrassed to have older parents.

    Rejoice that you have children. God put you here, in this time, as their parent for His reasons and purposes. Those who make comments about you being their grandmother are probably more embarrassed once they learn the truth.

    1. Good Morning Joan,
      Yes, rejoice that I have children. I do. I really do. Thank you Joan.

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