My daughter, Mattie, gave birth to my very first grandchild, Phoenix, on Monday, March 3rd. Becoming a grandmother comes with a learning curve, like becoming a parent in the first place. Seeing my daughter in pain sent me into a panic and I questioned the midwives, wondering if they knew what they were doing. They did know and they asked me to stop being so nervous. And then, all of a sudden, there she was, on my daughter’s chest, my grandgirl, a miracle!
I’ve been surprised by how little I am needed these first few weeks. Baby eats, sleeps, poops, pees, eats, sleeps, poops, pees… She’ll be two weeks old soon, (March 17th) and I’m so in love and looking forward to the days I can spend with her, just us.
Now it’s days later and the other end of our family is needing attention. My mother, age 90 on March 28th, is in the hospital. I live a three-hour drive away and am here at the hospital now. Many of us from our family have traveled to be with Mom and she, as usual, has been laughing and reminiscing with us as we gather in her room at St. John’s Hospital. We’ve tried to schedule our visits so we’re not all in her room at the same time but, inevitably, end up crammed in all together. I can only say this is so because we love being with her.
A visual and tangible scene of life has been played out for my family. Baby being born, and all the drama of that scene and her great-grandmother, nearing the end, reminiscing to whoever wants to sit and listen, about her long and adventurous life. We took a bundle of photos when Phoenix met her great-grandmother. No one had to say out loud that this might be the only time Phoenix meets her. My mom started crying when she was holding Phoenix and said, “Now I feel my life is worth while!” She knows that her family will survive, at least for one more generation, with this precious little person.
I have conflicting emotions surrounding taking pictures at family gatherings. Sometimes I just can’t stand all the cameras going off at the same time and think we’re not really immersing ourselves in these wonderful moments. But then, looking back on the photos, we are allowed to relive the moments. One photo I want from the encounter of young and old today is the photo of Phoenix gripping one of Mom’s old index fingers with her excruciatingly small, new fingers. Mom was mesmerized by the sight and began crying again. What a magical photo that will be!
Phoenix has a lot of hair and it’s auburn like my mom’s was when she was young. Coppery, warm auburn. I know I’m reading too much into this but it is curious, that Mom’s first and only great-grandchild is born with auburn hair. Most of us are blonde, no one got auburn like teeny-weenie Phoenix.
Mattie has returned home with Charlie and their magical Phoenix. I’m about to go back to the hospital. I hope the doctors can wield some magic so Mom can have a while longer. We’ll see. Please send prayers.