I will always remember June 2017. For it was then I discovered what ‘love at first sight’ meant. It happened without warning—just like that—the instant I set eyes upon your innocent face. I want you to know. Grandma fell head over heels, right there, right then, in love with you.
Holding you in my embrace, I felt I was cradling a cloud of cotton candy…soft, sweet, ever so delicate. Time and space dissolved in my mind, transporting me back to when I first held your Mom in my arms, my heart in awe at the wonder of creation. I was swept over by a muddled wave of anxiety and happiness, both bitter and sweet. And it took me a while to realise that my cheeks were wet with tears.
Evan, just so you know, Grandma had navigated many a challenge on the frontline of corporate labyrinths. Over decades, it has toughened me, hardened my resolve. Nothing, and no one, could get me to yield, to acquiesce. Then came you. You melted my heart, opened the floodgate of love within, and revealed a brand-new me that I, myself, would not have recognised in the mirror back then.
Because of you, I am my caring, soft-hearted self again. I remember breathing ever so lightly when you were asleep in my arms, afraid that I would wake you from your peaceful slumber. My gaze never left your face, for I wanted my eyes to be the first thing you saw when you opened yours, so you’d know I will always be there for you. On occasions that you didn’t sleep well and woke up crying, I baby-talked you back to sleep with my gentlest, cutest, most comforting voice. Haha. You could never have imagined Grandma’s transformation from the ‘iron lady’ of yester years. Neither can I!
Watching you grow—witnessing each milestone—has been the highlight of my life, even though I have to do so from afar in Hong Kong. Do you remember that I flew to Canada every three months to see you? Yes, I was afraid. Afraid that I would miss too many cheeky smiles, too many temper tantrums, too many sweet ‘Grandma, I love you’s. Terrified that you would be all grown up before I next return.
And do you remember when you were learning to crawl? I do.
You were so frightened when your parents let go of you, you puckered your lips and burst into tears. Then, instinctively, you turned to look at me—arms shivering, voice quivering—pleading with me with your tear-filled eyes. Oh, I so, so, wanted to pick you up then, to comfort you, to stop the pain in my heart. Only, your parents were giving me that piercing look, that knowing scowl, warning me not to move, not to interfere, not to spoil you. How heartless can they get? I felt like beating them up and bundling you into the safety of my embrace. And I almost did.
Evan, Grandma wants you to know that when I first became a mother, I struggled a lot with expressing maternal love. Then, I wanted so badly to be a good mother, to provide the best care and education for my little child. I wanted to be a good wife too, to work hard and contribute to the family’s finances. And I wanted to be a strong professional woman, to stake my claim to a career of significance. I ended up with far too much burden; far too little time. And before I had the ability or the opportunity to express affection and love, your Mom had grown and flown the nest.
But life appeared to have gone full circle. Your arrival has given me a second chance to experience the pure joy of familial love, to relearn the lessons of expressing affection. And I intend to do it right this time around. I know, I know. All the grandmothers of the world can relate to this. Because we have all missed opportunities, lived with regrets, and learned our lessons. That is why whenever you open your arms and smile at us, we have no way to resist pulling you into our embrace. We know all too well that the time we’re bestowed—to hug you, to hold you, to carry you—is way too short. Soon will come the day when we no longer have the physical strength to enjoy this immense pleasure. You will grow big; strong. And tomorrow’s learned maturity will replace today’s cute innocence. So, while you are surrounded by the warmth and love of family, I so, so hope that you would choose to grow oh, so, so slowly. Haha. Why not?
“A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.” – Lois Wyse
Evan, your arrival completes, for me, the roles in life that I was meant to play—a daughter, a lover, a wife, a mother, and yes, now a grandmother. And wherever you go, no matter how far, a piece of this first-time Grandma’s heart will follow. Even though we can only meet through Facetime during this challenging period, I want you to know, Evan, that no matter what the future holds, Grandma will always love you and support you. And I will forever be grateful for the pleasure of being your
Love you to the moon and back,