As she carried our tray toward the table at lunch today, I couldn’t help but smile. She has softened over the past few months. Her belly lead the way as she moved through the crowded restaurant. Her pink sweatshirt looked particularly sweet today. She’s radiant as a mom to be. Her world is about to be rocked by my grandson. She’s starting to have contractions, the baby has dropped, time is getting near.
Her world isn’t the only one about to be rocked. Her sweet guy is starry eyed as he looks at his bride and strokes her belly. Her dad is bursting with anticipation. Her whole family is ready to welcome him home.
This child is about to make me a Grammy. I can hardly wait. Of all the people in my life, my grandparents are among my very favorites. Grandparents are playmates and co-conspirators. They have the experience to know that everything isn’t a crisis. My grandparents showed me the world and let me explore on my own. They introduced me to new things, new people, and new ways of being. They cooked for me, took me along for the ride, and just let me hang out near by.
I loved the smells and sounds of my Grandma Zehrung’s kitchen. There was a small formica table off to the side, but the real work happened between the sink and the stove. In the summer, I watched them canning beans or peaches, or my favorite pears. They would tackle pounds and pounds of produce until it yielded quart, pint, and jam jars lined up on home made shelves in the basement. On cold winter’s evenings, we could pull out summer pears and enjoy their freshness.
Grandma Malone didn’t spend much time in the kitchen, which was probably good for all of us. But she was always ready to go. My favorite trip was the one we drove across the country in the summer of 1985. We travelled almost 4000 miles on my brand new drivers license. We flew down the road in my convertible, with nothing between us and the open road. I’ve visited more tourist sights with this grandmother than just about anyone else in my life. She has slowed down, but is still ready for an adventure, and as has often been true her adventures eventually end up in the gift shop.
I am thinking a lot about my grandparents this week. About their legacy, about their friendship, about their hopes and dreams for us. I’m about to enter into a sacred space. A chance to have a do-over with a brand new generation. I watched my parents take up this role and I’ve loved the way they’ve poured into our children’s lives. No matter what ever else is true, my grandparents loved me… even when I wasn’t all that lovable. That same legacy has been true in my children’s lives, as their grandparents have poured into these relationships even half way around the world.
Soon, I will hold my new grandson. I will look into his eyes and tell him he belongs. He is part of this a lasting legacy of love and commitment. It won’t take him long to learn that we are loud and ornery too… and I’m sure he will fit right in. There are so many things I want to share with him. I want him to remember slow walks in the woods near our house. I want to plan trips to explore new places… libraries, museums, zoos, and aquariums. I want him to enjoy the safety of quiet afternoons hanging out in my kitchen. I want to share our stories, our traditions, our family jokes with this little one. But first, he has to get here.