I am so grateful to Leni Marshall who put me on the Ageing Studies e list. It is through this network that I found about the What Is Old Age conference at the University of Warwick. I contacted them with a contribution to their blog and lo and behold this blog at last benefited from a few hits.
I have become a great-grandmother this last week. As usual so many contradictory feelings. I feel this status as very extraordinary. I only know one person aged 92 (still working as a music teacher) who has great-grandchildren. The majority of my friends and relatives are far from getting to the fourth generation. Yet I realise that both my grandmother and my mother lived to be great grand parents.
I live at an hour’s journey from my great grand-daughter. I am torn between feeling sad that I cannot see her everyday and relief that I do not have to worry about her and her mother. Every day I catch myself wanting to phone to give advice and ask : Is the baby feeding well ? are you both getting enough sleep, do you need my help? Yet I know that these reflexes are not reasonable. I keep quiet and have a peep at Facebook to realise that the grandchildren live in a different world, have their own friends and culture and that I am marginal in their lives.
I had noticed that both my grand-mother and my mother gave an impression of being distant from my children and grandchildren. Both women had very different lives as old women and were separated from my children and grandchildren geographically and language and I attributed this distance to these facts. But now I suddenly identify with them in spite of living in the same city and speak the same language as my grand-daughter. We do live in different countries.
Usually a birth in a family signifies continuity. Why do I feel that there is also discontinuities?