He came into the world in a rush, after months of waiting and preparation. Although I have given birth three times, this was the first time I watched a little one take his first breath. Tears ran down my cheeks as we waited for the first sounds of life. His first cry brought a rush of relief. They were both fine. Beautiful. Radiant. Healthy.
I didn’t realize how long I had been holding my breath, weeks definitely, months probably. I’ve been around long enough to know that life doesn’t always align with “What to Expect when You’re Expecting.” But for this little family, what they were expecting was perfect. A relatively straightforward delivery with few complications and a very quick labor and delivery.
For the past few days we’ve been just looking at him. Taking turns holding him. I’ve been gazing at his pictures like a love sick tween. He is beautiful. I am completely floored by the love I have for this little being. I recognize him. He’s one of ours. His face is altogether his own, but I see touches of my children in the soft folds and contours. He is ours. And I am his.
Everyone said the first grandchild ushers you into the very best club. I am learning the secret handshake… capturing the moments in my heart, the gasps and laughter at his faces, his gas, his stretches likes it’s my job. Last night I lay in bed thinking about what kind of boy he will be, wondering how I can help him grow into his highest potential. I read him his first book yesterday. I want books, Grammy’s voice, and a deep sense of belonging to welcome him into the world.
As I look at him, I see the future. I imagine who he will become, the adventures we will share, and the ways that life will unfold before him. I can’t help but also see the past as I look into his face. My babies grew so fast. It seems like last week we brought them home and listened through the night to the sounds on the baby monitor. It wasn’t last week, it’s been over two decades since we brought them home… we all grew up together.
My cousin called the other night to congratulate me, and be the first to tell me that becoming a Grammy means I’m getting old. I’m not so sure about that, but I am happy to be in this new season. I am content to have given so much of my life to raising these peculiar humans. It isn’t the only thing I’ve done, but I think it’s been the most important.
As I watch this young mom embrace the awesome responsibility of a child, I am stunned at how natural it looks on her. Sure, she hasn’t actually put the baby down since thy handed it to her, but she’s happily making her way through the firsts. She has a sense of poise and contentment I am in awe of. This afternoon, I sat in her little apartment listening to her chat about this little love with such care and tenderness. It took my breath away.
I’ve always said my mom believed we shared custody of my kids. Now, I know why. She wasn’t done yet. There was so much more to do with these little humans. To love and care, to nurture and scheme, and to ensure they know all of their days that there is someone who loves them more than life. That’s what my grandmothers did for me, what my mom did for my kids, and what I’ll do for our new grandson and any others that follow.
It is as grandmothers
that our mothers
come into the fullness of their grace.
– Christopher Morley