07/30/2013 01:55 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2013

Would Princess Diana Be Kvelling?


Like the rest of the world, I devoured that fleeting glimpse of the most famous baby ever born. But I couldn't help seeing everything though a filter of poignancy, bitter mixed with the sweetness; because there's something missing, or more accurately, someone missing.

And anyone in our generation knows exactly what -- and who -- I mean.

When I had my first child, my father flew out to California. I remember him siting in my hospital room holding my daughter for the first time. In the midst of this joyous moment, he was just a little bit melancholy. I knew why even before he verbalized it: "Your mom should have been here to experience this."

When I see the littlest prince, I am thinking the same thing.


Without a doubt she is in William's heart and mind. She's in the heart and mind of her close friend Rosa Monckton, who wrote about how Diana would have embraced the role of granny. And the birth of the newest royal puts Diana back in the hearts and minds of our entire generation.

We watched her fairy tale wedding; lived through her challenges; grew to adore and admire her; and were devastated by her death.

As many of us are becoming grandmothers ourselves, or maybe wish we were, we feel a fresh wave of pain at her loss; her missed opportunity to experience that joy that so many are feeling firsthand.

My children had no grandmother on either side; I felt and still feel the loss on their behalf; and on behalf of the grandmothers they never knew. At every milestone, and even in the small moments, that loss never really goes away.

It's conceivable Diana might have turned out to be one of those grandmothers who don't feel ready to play that role; who don't even want to be called "grandma." But I like to believe Diana would have been, as my mom was hoping to be, eager to be a young -- and glamorous --grandmother.

Would she have baked cookies with her grandchildren? Who knows? And who cares?

Surely, she would have excelled in performing what I consider the central prerogative and most meaningful job of grandparenting -- what I most wish my children had experienced. And though Diana wasn't Jewish, this is a recognized specialty of Jewish grandmothers (who also know something about princes, too).

There's even a Yiddish word for it.

Grandmothers are the official kvellers.

Like many, if not most, Yiddish words, there's no exact translation. I was surprised to learn it's actually listed in the dictionary, where kvell is defined as follows: "to be extraordinarily proud." The example cited couldn't be more perfect or more appropriate:
"proud grandparents who kvell over every thing that their precious little darlings do."

So it's probably safe to assume, based on who she was, Diana would definitely be gaga over Prince George.

If you're lucky enough to be gaga too, I hope you appreciate such a gift -- and never take it for granted.

Meanwhile I like to believe that somewhere Diana, and my mom, are kvelling over their grandchildren.

Darryle Pollack is a writer and co-founder of WHOA! Network, Women Honoring our Age. She also cops to a slight case of grandma envy.