Less than two weeks ago, my wife and I got to welcome our newest grandchild—our sixth! In ordinary times, we would have been there at the hospital with his big sister to await his arrival. But sadly, these are not normal times.
With the arrival of four of our five grandchildren, my wife and I had to travel all day to their west coast homes in order to get to greet and hold the newest arrival for the first time. I recall it was always a travel day full of excitement and anticipation for the moment of that first hold, especially with our very first grandchild.
For the birth of our in-town granddaughter—when we were living in normal times—we were in fact at the hospital throughout the day for the entire labor and delivery. And, once they got to their room, I got to greet my first granddaughter when she was only a few hours old.
But for this birth, it was more akin to those day-long trips to the west coast, not just for us, but for our granddaughter as well.
Here is our granddaughter when she got the news that she was having a baby brother, just what she had wanted. And throughout the pregnancy, she often talked about how she just couldn’t wait to meet her little brother and how much fun it was going to be. So, the day we knew Mommy and Daddy were bringing little brother home, it was almost like one of those full travel days of anticipation.
The day started out early with our granddaughter awakening before 7:00 AM. After a leisurely breakfast sitting on our deck, it was a swim in the pool for my wife and granddaughter. Then after some play time around the pool, it was indoor fun batting balloons around the house and playing make believe stories with little plastic animals.
Meanwhile, I was busy fixing lasagna for their first dinner home as a family of four. Throughout the morning, we kept in touch with our son and the progress towards discharge for both Mom and the baby. Being discharged on a Saturday, naturally everything took longer.
After lunch and a little more playtime, our granddaughter could hardly suppress her anticipation any longer. She kept asking every few minutes “were they home yet?” to which we had to reply, “not yet.” An hour later, even us adults couldn’t wait any longer and so we decided to drive on over to their house. Arriving early gave us time to stow our granddaughter’s things after her two nights of “sleepovers at Mimi’s house.” We kept ourselves busy straightening up things around the house and making a welcome home sign in the garage.
While Mimi (my wife’s grandmother name) wrote the words, our granddaughter drew pink hearts.
Just before we got the word that they had left the hospital, our granddaughter exclaimed one of her often used phrases: “This is taking AGES!” With the text they were on their way home, we opened the front door to watch for them. Mimi started a countdown but reached the count of 100 twice with still no arrival. Finally, we heard the distinctive sound of the garage door opening announcing their arrival.
While we had gotten to see the little fella through FaceTime over the previous two days when he filled the screen of our mobile device, in person, he just seemed so tiny.
Daddy got him out of the carrier and, in his arms, he seemed even tinier.
Mimi got to be first to hold him and our granddaughter thrilled getting to touch his soft newborn skin.
Finally, after all that waiting, it was big sister’s turn.
After months and months of excited anticipation, she finally got to hold baby brother. It had been a long wait. And no sooner was it suspected that he had had a dirty diaper, that she demonstrated one of the ways she could help by proudly announcing she could change him. Fortunately, it wasn’t necessary as this would have delayed my first hold even further.
As I finally held the little fella for the first time, I couldn’t get over how small he seemed. It had been many years since I had held a newborn. Kissing his little head, with me wearing what has become known as my ubiquitous red “Granddaddy’s shirt,” I thought to myself here was grandbaby number six.
I certainly don’t consider myself a numerologist, but another thought I had before coming over was the actual numerical dates of each of their births. I pride myself in remembering all of our family’s and extended family’s birthdays. Tracking back through our kids and even to my wife and I, I found it interesting to think that I was born on an even numbered day, my wife was born on an odd numbered day, all three of kids were born on odd numbered days and now all six of our grandkids were born on an even numbered day (half of which even the same numbered day, 24).
Returning to the moment, it was our granddaughter that again demonstrated her help by after taking a number of pictures of the baby, suggested we get a family photo of all of us.
Knowing everyone was tired from the excitement and all the activities, my wife and I decided to take our leave to let the new family have some quality bonding time together, just the four of them, before one or more of them crashed from exhaustion. Even though I had not gotten to hold him as long the first time as all my other grandchildren, I knew there would be time for more opportunities. While it has always been with sadness whenever we left our west coast grandkids to return home, there was none of that for this departure as being local, we could easily make more visits.
And I look forward over the coming days, weeks, and months ahead getting to know this little fella better and witnessing his cute personality begin to be revealed.