|Flickr, Creative Commons, courtesy of Will Clayton|
She arrived a week after her due date - I'd done my best not to be the anxious Grandma who asked "Are you having contractions yet? What did the doctor say? Have you tried riding over train tracks? Zumba? Jumping Jacks?"
I can report that the baby is perfect - and perfectly adorable.
Mommy and Daddy are happily settling into first-time parenthood. The Boy was thrilled to hold his one-day old niece (he'd never held a brand-new baby before), though he was afraid that he'd "screw up".
Thus began the five day Female Family Birthday Festivities!
On Monday, my sister-in-law and I both celebrated our birthdays. Nancy turned 70; I turned the ripe old age of 56. How the hell did we get this old? Nancy and I lamented about our decidedly un-hip decrepitude over the phone. Then I asked, "How did our kids get as old as they are?" The fact that our children are at or near middle age (except The Boy) made us feel a bit better about things. In fact, it made us feel younger and better about ourselves...until Nancy mentioned that we shared our birthday with Jack Nicholson (he's 76). She and my brother Stan always thought Mr. Nicholson was much older than they were.
"Does that mean we look a lot older than we think we do?" Hmm, so much for feeling better about our advancing ages.
Today (4/24/13), our oldest granddaughter Desiree turns Sweet 16! Though I've only been part of the family for a few months short of five years so far, Desiree has always made me feel welcome.
When I came to St. Louis for a visit back in 2007, Desiree cleaned her room - and she gave up her bed for my use (she slept on the couch). When I was returning to NY, I thanked her for her hospitality and I asked her if her room would be clean when I returned to Missouri for good.
"No, I won't clean it next time."
"Because then you won't be a visitor, you'll be Grandma."
And true to her word, I've rarely seen Desi's room looking as neat as it did on my first visit...and my transition to Grandmahood was practically seamless in my new family.
As the oldest grandchild, Desi is the trailblazer and the first to navigate through childhood calamities and pangs of adolescent angst. I've noticed how much she's matured in the last year or so, and expect her young adulthood to be an exciting time of exploration and continuing self-awareness. From this Grandma's perspective, she'll do just fine.
Having grandchildren is so much easier than being the parent - we get to experience the joy, dole out the love, but avoid the whole messy parental responsibility thing. We dispense unconditional love (and marvel at how perfect and funny these kids are) and have none of the worries about consequences and discipline - in short, it rocks!
In July, we'll have the male equivalent of multiple birthday celebrations when five (more if I count nephews) birthdays fall in a single week.
So as we celebrate a birth and birthdays, from our youngest member to those of us who have blown out candles on more cakes than we'd like to remember, I am grateful for each year (and slightly less so for each new wrinkle and aching joint), for love and family and every day bringing a new sunrise - and new opportunities to create family memories.