Early Sunday seemingly much more like night than morning I had a delightful dream. The kind of dream you are certain is real. A little girl, in my grown daughter’s likeness but not quite. Different but the same. Hair light sandy brown allowing the early morning light to catch natural streaks of blonde highlights defining her soft chin length curls. Comfortable. We were perfectly comfortable. Somewhere around two years old I suspect, and our relationship was as familiar as the afghan that was lovingly knitted by my mother a lifetime ago. Yarn in shades of brown, alizarin and sienna draped across our legs with the occasional edge randomly tucked in around us while displaying some fuzzballs and pills making this moment all the more valuable. We snuggled close on the white living room sofa while I read a children’s story about a pumpkin. Timely. It was time.
Little did I know that my daughter and son-in-law’s journey through labor and delivery had begun during those early hours. I had worried about this day this moment since I learned the very happy news last February. Always in the back of my mind even before the additional fears about the pandemic crowded my worry quadrant. I had hoped her experience would not resemble mine. I don’t know what I expected the day to look like but the reality of it being here was filled with the most unique combination of anxiety and excitement. She and I daily for the many weeks before speculated, imagined, and even drew on some old wives tales for guidance to figure out when the baby would be born. Fairly unceremoniously the day had arrived. A familiar feeling wrapped itself around this new experience and certainly not as comforting as that well-loved afghan. Worry is not dependent on reason but simply a feeling as powerful as matters of the heart. She has occupied my heart for so many years that I cannot and prefer not to remember another way.
Time to fill. Nervous energy. Catching a finger in a kitchen cabinet door. Feeling weak from the injured tip of my finger or the flood of feeling utterly helpless? I suspect the later. I wished I could do this for her. I needed to keep myself occupied. I knew she was strong and ready. I wished I could do this for her. Decided to make chocolate chips cookies for her. Her favorite. Childhood memories spilled into the bowl of batter in numbers surpassing the many Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips. I knew this batch wasn’t for her, but it was certainly for her…
Mostly these days I reflect on how quickly time passes but I knew and feared this would be quite different and the exception. I was right. Grateful for the ability to text. Obsessively checking my phone for an updated message around the clock and then around the clock again. When had I last checked in with my wonderful and ever so patient son-in-law? Waiting. Hoping. Worried. Waiting. Hoping. Worried…the anticipation of the first confirming photo of their new baby girl was becoming tangible.
Thoughts ranged from the family predictions written down on post-it notes around a dining table during our shared vacation on Cape Cod this past July to asking my brother who lives locally to pick-up a Boston Globe as a keepsake for the headlines of the day. My granddaughter’s date of birth.
Each woman’s birthing experience is as unique as the child she delivers. Happily, and not surprisingly my daughter was incredibly strong while being supported by her loving husband. They are a team. They are now a family. A beautiful baby girl was born Monday morning at 5:05 a.m. giving new definition to “Labor Day.”
New life is both reassuring and reaffirming. While no one has physically met our new precious family member due to COVID-19 I can tell you with complete confidence that she has found a home in all of our hearts. Love truly can change the world in a moment or at least our small family…
“When we encourage new parents to ‘treasure these moments because they don’t last forever,’ we need to remember to also reassure them that they will survive these moments because they don’t last forever.” – L.R. Knost