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Everyone I Know Is a Grandmother Except Me

And I'm actually OK with that — for now!

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Illustrated aerial view of busy city full of grandmothers and grandkids, one without kids
Gus Morais
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There are so many names. Some are Mimi, Gigi, Gammy and Grandma. Others go by Nana, Nonni, Gammy or Nini. It seems each of my friends is called something different by her grandchildren. That's one of the first questions we ask when the newest soon-to-be grandmother among us announces the news that she's joining the most wonderful of clubs in the next few months.

"What will they call you?" we all ask. "Whatever they want — I don't care!" is the inevitable response. And, of course, they don't.

Being a grandmother means, most of all, one thing: joy. The details will sort themselves out — that's Mom and Dad's job. Grandparents get the good stuff.

My grandmother was 48 when I was born. We had a mad love affair for 50 years, filled with giggles and songs and tears and secrets and abundant, never-ending mutual adoration. My mother was 50 when my daughter was born, 52 when my son was born. She was a part of both of their childhoods from the day they came into the world, and she's still a big part of their lives now that they are 30 and 28.

Grandmothering has been quite successful in my life, and I am ready to begin my grandmothering experience. There's just one little problem. Neither of my kids is ready to have kids yet. I am the only one in my close circle of friends who is not a grandmother.

This happened quickly. Within the past five years or so, everyone had babies. Some had two. They are still having them. There are showers and pictures and videos and gifts (I love buying baby gifts!). There are names to be discussed and marveled at — creative and unique and, for the most part, names most of us never would have thought of 30 or 35 years ago when we had our babies. It's lovely, all of it, and I wish I were going through these rituals as a soon-to-be grandma, too, but I'm not. There don’t appear to be any babies on my personal horizon anytime soon.

It took me a while to be OK with this. When my children have children is none of my business, but that doesn't mean I can't yearn for grandkids. My son is not ready either to get married or become a father. He's just begun a new career after chasing his dream of being a high school football coach for the past few years — a job he loved that offered very little in the way of, well, money.

My focus has always been on my daughter, Katie, becoming a mother, anyway. Given my love for my grandmother, and her love for her grandmother, I have always looked forward to continuing this maternal connection with a child of hers. Katie will have children someday — she is sure of that. In the meantime, she is living a pretty spectacular life. Katie is an entertainment publicist. Since starting her job when she was 22, she has traveled to London, Paris, Moscow, Sydney, Mexico City, Toronto, New York City, Cannes and many other places. She has met Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, and her clients include Nicole Kidman and my personal favorite, Idris Elba, both of whom I have met and hugged, thanks to Katie.

She has a large circle of friends who keep her on her toes and entertained. I tell you all of this not to brag (well, maybe a little) but to point out how wrong my focus can be sometimes. Yes, all of my friends have grandchildren, and they are so lucky. They get to hug and kiss and squeeze those babies and watch them grow and learn to talk and walk and delight in all the new things they see and hear and touch and learn. And who doesn't want that?

But I get to be Katie and Adam's mom. And if I have to wait to be a grandmother while Katie continues to live the adventure she gets to live, it's fine with me. And if I have to wait to be a grandmother while Adam is building his career and looking for the lucky woman who captures his sweet, kind heart, that's OK, too.

I won’t be young like my grandmother and mother were when my first grandchild comes along, whether it's Adam's or Katie's. Still, I'll love that child just as much as my grandmother loved me and as my mother loves Adam and Katie. In fact, maybe waiting longer will make me love him or her even more. I'll want to savor every single moment.

And my friends, perhaps by then long past new babies in their lives, will be thrilled to savor the moments right along with me. Because who doesn’t love babies?

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