When a baby is coming…in honor of Riley, my grandson, who will be 2 on August 4th.

Babies come at all times, in all circumstances, and the world is never the same again. Each life impacts the lives of all those around them and change occurs, rippling changes without end.

When I learned I was going to be a grandmother, I was still mothering one of my own little ones who was only four. Not enough time had passed to dim my memory of pregnancy and childbirth which made the experience of having a pregnant daughter poignant for me. I dreaded the discomfort and pain she was bound to feel with each day she carried her little one. Yes, I wanted her to enjoy the blessing and joy of motherhood, but first things first…9 months and labor to deliver! Goodness…the challenges of life for Heather were mounting and I was feeling and foreseeing with a heavily compassionate heart.

Something was always stirring in me, from the moment I learned a baby was coming…one that would be partly my own, but one step back. Grandmother…a new experience altogether for me, one I wanted to embrace, to fulfill lovingly and completely in honor of both my daughter and her child. Such a new and marvelous thought, the precious gift of a grandchild! My heart could hardly take it in! The days were long and filled with anticipation. Although I felt a connection, it was different than carrying my own babies, again, it was a step back, but there was still a closeness words cannot adequately convey.

We learned the baby was a boy. How lovely, I thought, that Noah would have a sweet little boy to love and to share growing up with. And for Heather, the gift of a boy is no more precious than the gift of a girl, but the experience is somehow different I’ve learned. Little boys tend to be so tender toward their mothers and I wanted Heather to know that sweetness all for herself.

During the months Heather carried Riley, I effortlessly reflected on the years I raised her, remembering how she was at different times throughout her childhood. It all seemed to have happened so fast. If only I could rewind the clock and live those years a little more slowly, savoring each day and the gifts of each one more fully, I would have. But time doesn’t allow us to do such things. We are given the gift of each day and then with it’s passing it becomes fixed there for all eternity, not to be changed, undone, or relived. A good lesson, but usually one learned with at least a little regret and heartache.

Once after Heather had grown up and left home, I came across an old pair of her little girl glasses long since outgrown and tossed aside. As I picked them up, my mind was flooded with images of her with her white flowing hair cascading around her perfectly pretty face, my eyes shed tears too many to count as I enfolded those little glasses to my heart and held them there. If only I could hold her close again as when she was little and needed me…time…swiftly, swiftly passing…

So then the day came for Heather to be admitted to the hospital. She was going in to have her little baby. My heart raced with anxiety, hope, and longing as we got her there all settled in and I left her with her husband behind closed doors to face and endure the struggle, pain, and the joy of childbirth. What a weight I carried on my heart as I walked away, leaving her there, my baby, my child, to become a mother herself…

As with first babies, Riley took his sweet time getting here. I would go in to see Heather every little while. Once I was allowed in and found her lying there with oxygen on to help her breathe. Her eyes were heavy with exhaustion and if I could have taken on the task of giving birth to that baby myself to spare her the agony I would have…willingly.

The time finally came that we were told it would not be much longer. I knew then the physical intensity and the crucial moments were upon us. I walked the halls, as I always have to move when under stress. Anxiety had been building for months as her time drew ever closer for delivery. I finally walked out all I could of my anxiety, and then I made my way to the closed double doors behind which my child lay. I knew then I was as close, physically, to her as I could get and it is there that I stood waiting in prayer. Can you hold someone with your heart? I believe you can, and that is what I willed to do as I prayed.

I was alone for a little while and then was found by two sweet childhood friends of Heather’s who stood vigil the day and night of her labor. Sweet Jordan reached those slight arms up to me and wrapped me in them, holding me close. It is then that my tears fell freely as love surrounded me in the arms of one I had loved for so many years, since she was just a child. I had held her from time to time, as she then held me, over the course of her growing up years. Love…sometimes unspoken expressions convey the deepest meaning. That is surely the case in the moments my sweet little friend held me while I cried.

It wasn’t long before we heard the good news that baby Riley had burst into this world, healthy and strong, and Mama was doing just fine. We left the hospital for a little while since the baby and Heather would not be available for a visit for some time. Upon our return that evening, we were allowed to see Riley for the very first time. Words cannot describe what I felt in my heart the first time I was blessed to wrap my arms around that tiny bundle that would one day call me “Granny.” As I drew him close to my heart there was an immediate connection unlike anything I had ever experienced; not closer than what I felt with my own babies, but different, special, easy, gentle, and…GRAND!

This special relationship has grown ever closer day by day as we’ve played, cuddled, laughed, and loved together. I greatly appreciate the honor and the gift of being a part of Riley’s life. I pray for God’s continual blessings and care to rest on him as we give thanks for these 2 years we’ve been blessed to share!

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