Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Worth Waiting For

I waited a long time for a grandchild. Our son married right out of college nine years ago. I think I was discreet about it—the waiting, that is. They knew how much I love babies. But I knew how much they had in their plans that made having children right away not practical. I just did not know how hard it would be to wait. All my friends sending me their Christmas cards with their couches and laps overflowing with grandchildren seriously tested my patience! It was cute at first. Then, year by year, it became torturous! I think my discretion weakened these last couple of years and I probably not so subtly expressed my longing—if not with my actual words, my face around babies probably said it all! Or maybe it was two Christmas Eves ago at church when I brought a little baby over to my son to show him what one looked like!?

I confess. I had my own selfish expectations. I got married young and when my son married younger, also, I just planned on being a very young grandmother. I am still young, relatively speaking, but not as young as I had planned. I did tell the kids I just hoped they would have children while I could still get up and down off the floor to play! And I guess I did warn them recently that if someone did not have a baby soon I may end up in jail for stealing a small child.

But finally the day came. Last Thanksgiving our son and his wife announced during the Thanksgiving meal that they were expecting a baby! Wow! What a great context for that announcement! And, true to my anxious grandparent’s heart, I already had a baby gift waiting! I immediately went into my little hope closet and got the soft little blanket square with a critter in the middle and gave it to them. I had purchased it two years earlier when I just could not help myself anymore. I had passed by so many sweet baby things. This one I refused to pass by. I bought it and put it away. It could wait with me for the time when my hope became substance!

But in November of 2010 July 4th of 2011, the due date, seemed so far away! I had waited over eight years. I told myself I could wait another few months. I did. It was so worth the wait! She was three days late, but Laurel Ana was born at 9 p.m. July 7th. All fingers and toes accounted for. Healthy lungs to announce her arrival. Though I could not be there, my son sent me the audio of her screaming she was here. Beautiful dark hair. No conehead and no visible marks or swelling from the long hard 24 hours of labor she extracted from her beautiful mother. She is perfect! Really! I know every grandparent says that, but Laurel really is. And she has already shown signs of inner beauty to match her outward gorgeous looks. She is as sweet as any baby I have ever been around and I have been around a lot of them. She has been so alert and observant. Though I know their little eyes do not focus clearly for several weeks, Laurel is sure looking intently at every face and everything put in her line of sight. You can see that she is searching for meaning in her environment and from those who care for her. Her little mouth already trying to make the shapes that make sounds. She rarely cries or fusses. She is pure sweetness.

Her inner beauty was really tested when she was only three weeks old and dragged to her Auntie Anne’s wedding on the 30th of July. Such a trooper! She made it to every party and celebration and was passed around to relatives, young and old, and friends too numerous to count. And rarely a peep out of her! She just searched faces intently, thrilled us with smiles occasionally (you can call it gas if you want, but the timing in response to people smiling at her makes me stick to my story—she was smiling at three weeks!). Then she would close her searching eyes to rest from all the hard work of exploring her new world and all these crazy people called relatives. And I just want to say, her mom and dad deserve a medal for their gracious and generous attitude in sharing this precious young life with so many folks without proof of hands properly cleansed with antiseptic wash or Red Cross training for child care.

Dear little Laurel was definitely worth waiting for. Did I say she is the most beautiful and personable little baby girl I have ever met? Ok. So I am over the top. All discretion aside, being a grandmother who has waited so long there is not time for such silliness. Oh! And I have another grandchild coming in December! This one a little boy. No doubt he will be the most handsome and charming young grandson to ever arrive on planet earth. I bet you can hardly wait for that post!

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