I’m Back with a Surprise

I have been quiet for several months because I have been a busy bee. I have been working on the election (writing postcards, posting informative messages to Twitter and Facebook, researching candidates, and taking a class on working on the Voter Protection Hotline) as well as planning weekly lessons with my four-year-old granddaughter. We are learning to speak Spanish and to sign—both of which have been on my bucket list. Hola, mucho gusto, gracias!


Although we had a brief period of allowing our grandchildren to visit us at our home, we backed off several weeks ago due to our decision to isolate ourselves for the upcoming arrival of our newest grandchild. We did not want to take any chances of not being allowed to visit her.

Looking back on my infrequent posts this year, I realized I never announced the impending expansion of my family tree. I guess I did not anticipate a break in writing for so many months.

It has not been a typical pregnancy. The visits to the doctor were sometimes virtual, which was not comforting to both Mother and Grandma. The shower was via Zoom and the shopping trips to choose the baby furniture were stressful, but at least it was easy to keep those pesky sales people at a distance. Not to be able to visit my pregnant baby was sad, but now the excitement is reaching its peak.

After months of waiting, the time is finally here. Mommy-to-be checked into the hospital last night—6 days before her due date because the baby is predicted to be a bit on the large side. We have been getting text updates and had one telephone call so far today. Bampa mentioned that his traditional meal-in-waiting was always a BLT sandwich. What will be the meal of choice for our family’s newest father?

I can’t wait to see them all as well as my mom. We have not been together since November because of the virus. I look forward to seeing how Jamie morphs from teacher to mother. Will she be a typical first-time-mother and boil each item before the baby touches it, or will she be more like a laid-back veteran mom and teach her daughter how to juggle knives? After all, the new dad is very skilled at juggling the tennis balls I sent her in case she experiences back labor.

In any case, I lost the baby shower guess-the-date contest. My date was October 16. The winner looks like it will be the God-grandmother/great aunt. I don’t know if the Godmother of the mother is the God-grandmother, but this is my story, so I get to choose!

I hope to get the call announcing the arrival of baby ____ (I am not announcing her name!) before dinner time today. Then I will be able to raise my glass in a toast.

It is time for some happy news for a change!

He’s No Spring Chicken but….

We had another playdate with the kiddies, an event that I cherish because I know that the chance always exists that the coronavirus may result in losing those visits again. Each time one of us ventures away from our homes, we discuss our movements and decide if the activity requires a quarantine from our two families again.

Our visit was primarily indoors because it had been rainy, so after some marble races, bed making, and a few rounds of Mancala, it was time for another round of indoor miniature golf. (Remember how we played in January.  Fore !) Bryce went to work in the dining room while Dad took a quick nap. He had awoken before 4:00 am that day so he needed to close his eyes for a few minutes.

The holes consisted of a few chairs, boxes, a rolled up drawing, and a couple of placemats. I practiced with the kids until it was time to wake up. When it was Dad’s turn (he thought) to try it out, he grabbed the putter but was stopped dead in his tracks when Bryce said so innocently, “You should skip this hole, Bampa. You are too old.”

What an incentive that statement was! Daddy lined up the shot and took a swing. Aha! It was a hole in one! So much for old age.

Sleepovers- Two Generations Later

Once upon a time, I would have sleepovers at my grandma’s house with my cousins. Then I became a parent, and you would all go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a sleepover. When you were a bit older, your friends would come to our house to “sleep.”

But let’s be honest. There was not a lot of sleeping going on during those happenings. I never enjoyed these occasions, but I was still young enough to remember the excitement of spending the night with a friend or two (or three or more).

Now I am the grandma hosting the slumber events. I admit that it is very flattering to be told that Bryce has been asking more than once when he can sleep at our house and then was very excited once the date was set. He wanted to help make dinner: “Mac and cheese like last time.”

The day began with lunch and a swim at the pool followed by a trip to Publix to purchase ingredients for a smoothie.

“Grandma, we need strawberries, bananas, yogurt, and orange juice.”

We played his Thomas the Train game, built a house of cards, and then prepared and ate dinner. Bath time, story time, and prayers went by without any major hitches.

Dad and I turned off the lights after briefly tuning into Stephen Colbert’s show and sadly discovering it was a rerun. We had hoped to see Stephen’s take on the meaning and pronunciation of covfefe, our president’s newest gaffe or secret Russian code word.

I was in the middle of a dream about Jamie being arrested when I was awoken by a very quiet little voice whispering, “Grandma. I’m hungry.” Disappointed at not finding out what action caused Jamie to end up behind bars, I opened my eyes to see the little Munchkin standing beside me. (Thank goodness he did not do what I used to do to Grandma, which was to pry open her eyelids with my tiny fingers.)

“I need some yogurt, please.”

After informing Bryce that he could have his 4 am snack once he went to the bathroom (“I already did.”), I staggered into the kitchen and pulled out the yogurt and spoon. Two bites later, he was done and ready to go back to bed. Thankfully, I was able to return to sleep but not to that dream.

It seemed like a very long time later that I felt a presence staring at me. How long he was there before I opened my eyes I do not know.

“Grandma, I want to snuggle.”

How could anyone refuse that request, so I helped him climb into bed between Dad and me? By that time, Dad was finally awake. He made room for our little visitor—in vain—because Bryce truly wanted to snuggle with me. I was literally hanging off the edge of the bed while Dad was luxuriously sprawled on his side, but now wide awake.

“I’m going to make coffee,” Dad announced to the two of us.  Thankfully, there was no movement from my corner of the bed.

It was still dark, and sunrise was not until 6:15 (I had already checked that out the previous night because Bryce was excited to be able to see the sun rise from the comfort of our living room), so there was no way in the world I was going to leave my cozy nest.

“Let’s snuggle a bit more,” I instructed him, foolishly optimistic that he would fall back asleep. I don’t know if he did, but I was so exhausted that I did return to dreamland for a very brief time until I heard a very wide awake little voice cheerfully announce, “Grandma. Time for a smoothie!”

By now, it was already 5:15, so I could not deny that they night was done. So we shuffled off to the kitchen, made the smoothie, and settled down to wait for the sun to rise.  Good morning, world!


The Waiting Game- Part 2

We were waiting—again—all day. Gigi and Pops arrived at 9:30 Saturday night. We went to bed planning to all meet at IHOP for breakfast Sunday morning at 8:30. That never happened because Kelly’s contractions began sometime during the night. Breakfast for the gang was canceled.

So we picked up Bryce and returned home to wait. Mark continued to give us updates throughout the day. We played cars and trains with Bryce, made chocolate chip cookies, went for a walk to visit all the neighborhood dogs, and waited some more.

Kelly and Mark gave us their sandwich orders from Beezers so we could pick it up on the way to the hospital. I hoped it would be a late night dinner order rather than a last call order, but I knew I could not complain. (Beezers closes at 3:00 am.)

The thing is, while we were impatiently waiting, baking our cookies and going out for a late afternoon stroll, Kelly was hard at work, exhausted after a very short night, not knowing when she would reach the finish line. All she knew was that at the end, she would be handed a beautiful gift—a sweet little baby named Lily.

Just a short time before midnight, we were on our way to meet Lily. She was worth the wait!


The Waiting Game Again- Part 1

The birth of this next baby should be a lot easier for Dad and me, but not necessarily for Kelly I realize. When Bryce was born, we were a two hour drive away from their home rather than the nine minute drive we now have. While we will have “Big Brother” to care for during this second birth, watching him seems much easier than the drama which arose shortly before he was born.

I went to hang out with Kelly prior to that birth because she was not feeling well and needed her mommy to care for her and drive her around until the big day arrived. Meanwhile, not far from Kelly’s house was Casey, who had just accepted a new job in Baltimore and was now preparing for the big move north. The new job required a drug test, which added some complications to the event.

Since Bryce was in no hurry to meet us, Kelly’s doctor chose a date, February 7, to coax the little man into the world. Dad planned to drive down to Charleston to meet me at the hospital that morning.

However, the night before, Casey was involved in quite a fender bender after the drug test (It was not her fault, by the way, and there were no injuries to anyone but her car, which “died” in the mishap). I was still at Kelly’s house when I received the rather hysterical phone call from Casey, who had just had the accident not far from her Summerville apartment. I realized that it would take me a very long time to reach her because it was near rush hour, so I contacted my cousin, Ellen. Not only did Ellen live nearby, but she also had worked as a police officer so was well-versed in police speak. She calmed Casey, helped find a place to have the car towed, and instructed me to meet them at a restaurant off the interstate. All this happened on February 6. Thank you, Ellen.

The following day, Dad helped Casey sift through the paperwork with the insurance company and arrange for a rental car. Finally, finally, finally we were all at the hospital, along with Mark’s parents, awaiting Bryce’s grand entrance. Jamie was in New Jersey awaiting a snowstorm and, in typical Jamie style, checking in with us at regular intervals.

Now, three years later, I am feeling a sense of déjà vu. Kelly has been given her date to check into the hospital if little “Jane Doe” does not come on her own. This time, rather than waiting at the hospital to meet our newest grandchild and watch her get weighed and measured, we will be at our home with Bryce, where he will stay until he is called to meet his baby sister.

Gigi and Pops are driving in from New Orleans and will be staying with us. The excitement is beginning to build. What will she look like and how will Bryce react when he realizes there will be a little princess moving into his castle?

I wrote this on January 9 and wondered when we would have the answer. I suspect “Princess Jane Doe” may arrive before the tiger faces the elephant Monday night in Arizona. It’s just a feeling.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Fading Memories

Grandmotherhood has lived up to all the wonder and hype, much to my surprise. It was not that I did not share the enthusiasm and excitement about our family expanding. I remembered our own feelings of joy before each of you was born. At the same time, the word “grandma” evoked thoughts of blue-tinted gray hair and housedresses. It meant “you are old and everyone knows it.”

Now that I have joined that club, I realize it’s not so bad. When my phone rings because my little man wants to come over for a hug, and then he runs to me at top speed and squeezes the stuffing out of me and says, “Grandma, I am so happy to see you”, I am in love. I teach him songs from my past that I worry may get him beat up on the playground someday. We race around the house playing hide and seek, and I take him outside in the stifling hot Carolina sun to watch a butterfly dart around the palm tree on my front lawn. He stands at the edge of the yard with Dad and loves to watch the golfers on the course.

Then I sit at my computer and drift down memory lane, deciding what story from my childhood I will tell all of you next. I close my eyes and think back to my grandfather, and no matter how hard I try, that’s as far as I can go. Three years old. Flashes of other people and places appear—Grandma’s friend, Mrs. Esthler up the street and her best friend, Aunt Weezie. I recall their homes. I remember that their houses smelled musty, but I just can’t pinpoint my age when I would go with Grandma to visit them. Was I younger than the three-year old me that Papa pushed on the swings? I just don’t know.

After he died, there is a missing year. My fourth year on earth is an empty void. I don’t even recall the transition from only child to big sister when Aunt Arlene came home. If they had taken her back, would my missing year return? I think I loved her, but did I feel that she was an intruder?

Arlene and Karen -Christmas

Now I am in kindergarten.  My teacher, Mrs. Denison, lived up the street. I would sit on the front lawn and wave shyly as she would pass by my house. I remember my cubby where I put the drawings I colored in class and was allowed to bring home to hang on the refrigerator. I loved drawing houses with a ghost in each window.

I remember the other kindergarten teacher, Miss Fox. She played the piano and we’d sing along with her. My first friend, Karen was also in that class. She made those ghostly houses, too, I think. She’s still my friend after all these years, so maybe she’ll help me dig up those dim flashes of thoughts from my past.

Then I think of my little man and realize that the days of chasing butterflies on the front lawn, and the smile on his face when we sing, “You are my sunshine”, or the way he giggles when he finds me hiding in the closet will only be my memories. We will make new memories together—older memories, but these two-year old memories will fade away like the brilliant colors of the morning sunrise streaming in my window each day as they turn from red to pink and then disappear.

Watching Golf with Grandpa
Watching Golf with Grandpa