The joys of first time grandparenting

Becoming a grandparent for the first time is an exciting thing. Special Care Nurse Unit Manager Rita Houghton became a grandmother for the first time in May and says it’s one of life’s biggest joys.

Learning she was going to become a ‘Nanna’ was incredibly exciting for Rita. She was invited to attend the birth in Townsville where her son Paul and daughter in-law Jess live.

“It was a sensational experience – I was there as a grandmother, not as a nurse which was lovely,” Rita said.

“I was right by Jess’s side and talked to her and felt honoured to be involved in such a wonderful moment,” she said.

As soon as baby boy Archie was born, Paul and Jess offered Rita a cuddle straight away but she waited.

“They asked me to hold him but I thought it was important for them to have their time first as a family of three,” she said.

Rita finds the distance and time between visits hard to bear.

“We were lucky to have them stay with us for a month shortly after he was born which was fantastic but then they took ‘my baby’ back home and I needed to see him!” she laughs.

“I want to spend as much time as I can with Archie because I know they grow up so quickly and reach different stages all the time and I don’t want to miss a thing,” she said.

Rita describes herself as a hands-on grandparent.

“I always asks for permission from the parents because it is their baby and I don’t want to stand on any toes,” she said.

“At the same time, I’m very lucky because Paul and Jess are very willing to share their baby and allow me to do what I like!

“I think they’ve appreciated my help because there’s only the two of them and it’s a big thing to have a tiny baby 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said.

Rita says the biggest thing she has learnt since becoming a grandparent has nothing to do with the baby.

“I have to accept that my youngest son has become a father and he gets the final say on things that happen,” Rita explains.

“In the past you were always the person who made decisions in their lives – now I stand back and I ask permission first and respect the parents decisions!

“I only give advice when I’m asked and I have to accept they will do things differently to me,” she said.

Rita says she loves showing off of her grandchild to her colleagues.

“There’s a few of us with grandsons around the same age and when we get together, we trade photos and talk about all the milestones the kids are achieving!” Rita said.

“Parents have mother’s and father’s groups but us grandparents have groups too and what a wonderful part of life it is!” she said.

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