I was at the beach, in New Jersey, on my cell phone in a hotel room, talking to my daughter-in-law who wasn’t yet exactly my daughter-in-law. She’d been my son’s longtime love, his first Girl, and they’d recently moved in together. I’d just had a hysterectomy, ending forever my ability to have babies, and I was mourning the loss.
“I had to take off work today to get a blood test,” said The Girl.
“A blood test? What’s wrong? Are you sick? You never get blood tests. You hate needles! What‘s wrong? Are you sick?”
“Um, I’m, um, we’re going to have a baby,” she said.
I gulped. I sat down. I closed my eyes. “Okay,” I breathed. “I have to go now, and cry.”
And cry I did. I cried for the loss of my own baby-making abilities; I cried for what I worried was the too-soon beginnings of my son’s. I worried like crazy. I worried that they were too young. I worried that I was too young. I was only 45; my son was 21. The Girl was 22. Holy cow; I was going to be a grandmother. A grandmother! I knew that there’d be a need for child care, as both parents have to work these days. Should I volunteer? How much would I – could I – volunteer? As an author of books for children, I have a busy career. How could I go back to changing diapers?! How would I manage my career and a baby? How would we all do this?
The worries continued as the first months passed. I worried about money. I worried about time.
One day, the phone rang. “Mom?” said my son Justin. “Can you come over? Like right now?”
My heart dropped. “What’s wrong?”
“Um, Christine’s, uh, bleeding. Spotting. She’s hysterical. Can you come over, like now?”
I hung up the phone and once again I cried. I sobbed as I drove – as fast as safety allowed – the 15 miles to Justin and Christine’s apartment. I wailed and I prayed, and I prayed and I wailed. I begged God to let this baby – my grandchild – be okay. It was at that moment that I realized how much I already loved this tiny unseen person.
The baby was okay. The spotting stopped, and more months passed. My worries had dwindled, as I repeated my mantra: “This baby will be a blessing and a joy. I love it: the him or her that’s my grandchild.”
Then one day my cell phone rang again.
“They’re taking her in for emergency surgery,” my oldest son said.
Again, the familiar drop of the heart. “What’s wrong?”
“I . . . don’t really know. They’re just saying something about no fluid around the baby.”
“I’ll be right there,” I said.
The baby was born via caesarean section a short time later. He was beautiful, healthy, whole: 8 pounds, 9 ounces of gorgeous baby boy. He was my grandson, and he was perfect.
Connor is now three, and he’s a genius: the most spectacular toddler in the universe. I baby-sit him 2 or 3 days a week, and we are bonded beyond belief. We are best friends.
Connor has inspired my writing in new directions. I’ve created at least a dozen new picture books since his birth, and my first adult book was recently released. Titled “The Hip Grandma‘s Handbook,“ it’s a quirky reference book slanted toward the active Baby Boomer grandmother. Most of the tips in the book have come directly from my obsessive research resulting from Connor’s birth, information gleaned by being a babysitting grandmother who wants to do the best for her grandchild.
Life really does come full circle, and every new life on this earth adds to the magic of humanity.
My lesson? Always expect blessings and joy.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.