#NOFILTER, by Stephanie Shockley

I thought I knew the meaning of love until my first grandchild was born. Grandmothers told me it would be indescribable and even more amazing than having my own children and not until I held my grandson have I felt a joy this intense.

Why is having a grandchild so special? In a recent class at The School of Healing Arts, Susan taught us the meaning of unconditional love. I thought I loved my children unconditionally and she explained as parents we do not. We see our children’s faults and love them fiercely. Grandparents do not see flaws, they just love completely. Grandparents don't have the worries of a parent and can be present for their grandchildren without the daily distractions of life.

I was not always present in my children’s lives. My addiction kept me from fully experiencing all the precious moments in their lives. Yes I was there physically, but emotionally I was cut off by my alcoholism and unable to connect in the way my children needed. I have struggled with shame and continue a process of forgiveness for myself and I have made both living and verbal amends to my children. As adults, my children are personally working through the effects of my parenting and are able to share their feelings about my absence in their lives.

Like all proud grandmothers, I posted a photo on Facebook and Instagram of me holding my grandson Nicholas shortly after he was born and the first phone call I received congratulating me was an old “ friend boy” from high school. He was genuinely happy for me and reminded me that if I was not sober today I would not be able to enjoy my grandson and be of service to my daughter and son in law. Living a life of recovery gives me the opportunity to fully experience the richness of life, both good and bad, with #nofilter.

Stephanie Shockley, MA
Integrative Therapist, The Estuary
(615) 943-4697