When my second child was born, my father said to me with a reflective smile, “The only thing better than having children is having grandchildren.” At the time, I wiped the baby spittle off my shoulder and propped my eyelids open and said, “Uh huh. Good to know, Dad.” From my sleep deprived stupor, it sounded like Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Princess Leia that effortlessly rewarding days were right over the horizon. Except the words were too distant and fictional to have any meaning in my world.
Thirty years later, the princess is more than grown up with grown children of her own. Suddenly, in the midst of all these grownups, there’s an uncharted new galaxy populated by a little pink man who arrived like a blast of warm sunshine in the snowiest February ever. Meet my first grandchild, born on February 11th, 2014, weighing in at a mighty 8 lbs 11 oz and 23 inches.
His journey to this point, and that of his parents, is nothing short of miraculous. Briefly told, Son and Daughter-in-Law (DIL) married in the fall of 2012 and began their new life together. Then, the day before Valentine’s Day, DIL was hit by an SUV while crossing a city street, sustaining multiple traumatic injuries. For a couple whose wedding occurred two weeks after Superstorm Sandy, the accident felt like the cruelest of blows, a dare to the storybook promise of happiness at their marriage just three months earlier.
But trauma, surgeries, and months of rehab were no match for DIL’s resolve and Son’s support. From inside her body brace, DIL assured anyone who asked how she was doing, “I’m doing great! This time next year I’ll be saying, ‘What accident?'” I heard these words with a mixture of hope and trepidation, wondering how much the universe would allow itself to be bent by her determination. As it turns out, the universe was no match.
On a hot day in August, Husband and I met Son and Daughter-in-Law for sushi after they returned from vacation. “We have a present for you,” DIL said with an impish smile. The gift, however, came with specific instructions on how to receive it. “I want you each to hold out your hand and close your eyes,” Son said. We did so, intrigued. Then I felt a wisp of paper in the palm of my hand and thought, “What?” DIL told us to open our eyes, and for an instant all I saw were beaming smiles across from us. Then I focused on the slippery square in my hand. It was a sonogram. I could barely comprehend what they were telling us. “I’m due February 12th,” DIL said. “A year minus a day from the accident. Can you believe it?” I was either speechless or screaming; I don’t remember which.
Fast forward to this past Tuesday, February 11th. I’m in a training session at my new job when I glance down to my phone and see a text from Son asking to be picked up at the train station. DIL was in labor and needed to get to the hospital. Husband dashed over. He watched as the two of them disappeared through the doors of the delivery room, and was still there when I came three hours later. With another winter storm beating its way across the country in our direction, DIL’s mom arrived from the west coast just as her daughter was giving birth. I couldn’t have written it better myself. I wouldn’t even try.
That night, as DIL’s mother and I looked on, our new little grandson was examined head to toe in the delivery room, his downy hair arranged by the nurse in what looked like a middle-aged comb over. We laughed at the adorable absurdity. Suddenly, he turned his head in our direction and gave a little gurgle that made my knees weak. DIL’s mom leaned into my shoulder and said in a soft voice, “A year ago today, the accident hasn’t happened yet.” We looked at the baby, and then at each other. There were no words needed.
Today’s Featured Foto is Boy Meets World
**** HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY *****