Birth Stories 5 & 6 - Valentines from a Grandmother to her Grandkids

This is the third of four valentine posts dedicated to the children of my children who made me a grandmother and brought me so much joy. Just as each of them is unique, how they came into my life is a unique story. Over the span of almost 11 years, my job description evolved from being the Founding Director of Cherry Preschool to being a consultant and communications coordinator to being a blogger and writer. Through all of these life changes, my identity as Gramma never wavered. So birth stories 5 & 6 belong to the little boys who (finally) arrived to introduce me to trains and trucks.

HERE COMES THE SON…FINALLY A BOY

TylerMy daughter announced her pregnancy by texting me a picture of a positive pregnancy test stick and his gender by emailing me his ultrasound photo, but T’s arrival on June 11, 2009 was still filled with wonder and excitement. By this time, we were pros at the grandparent thing and arrived a day early to take care of big sister A. Little did we know what an expensive proposition that would be! A had figured out she could milk this “getting a sibling she didn’t want” thing by finding dozens of small items she wanted/needed every time we entered a store. Plus she was so cute and clever and she knew she had us wrapped around her darling little finger.

T was, and still is, our biggest grandchild. He looked so much like my daughter as a baby that it took my breath away. After a day filled with trips to playgrounds, sprinkler parks and stores to purchase an array of stuffed animal big sister presents, we took A to the hospital (once again doubting the wisdom of this visit) to meet her baby brother. Was she excited to meet her brother? Not so much. But she loved crawling into bed with Mom and polishing off her pudding.

We really needed the blessing of this beautiful baby boy. Near the end of her pregnancy, my daughter suspected A had cystic fibrosis and sadly she was correct. I helped A decorate the house with “baby brother” balloons, feeling both the joy that comes with a new baby and the heartbreak that comes with learning I had a grandchild with a serious illness. So A’s entry into the world of CF coincided with T’s entry into the world. Thankfully he escaped the odds (1 in 4) and did not have it.

CribWhile T’s birth story was bittersweet, it had its funny moments as well. There was the list of middle names with all of their friends texting in their favorites, only to have the parents select one not even on the list. There was watching A squeeze herself into T’s bouncy seat, baby car seat, bathtub, and swing as well as squeezing him ever so lovingly. There were A and her cousin M lying in the crib together sucking on his binkies when the family came to check him out. Poor TT (as we called him) – preview of coming attractions with an older sister and three older female cousins.

AND ANOTHER BOY

AustinA’s CF is under control, T is an easy-going guy, the beloved first dog, Savannah, died, and a new puppy (Flynn Rider – guess who named him?) joined my daughter’s family. Things are so crazy – why not have another child? So on November 8, 2012, A-2 (same initials as his big sister) joined the menagerie. This time the middle name was selected in memory of my father who had died the previous July. I’m sorry he never got to meet this little one. Like his mother, he has the fun-loving personality of a third child.

This time, I was a wiser (and older) grandmother and insisted my husband stay with me the entire time I took care of the kids. It took two of us to get A to kindergarten and T to preschool, buy groceries, take care of the dogs, and manage the chaos of very excited six and three year old sibs.

Once again, we trekked to the hospital for the obligatory sibling visit. Predictably, A-1 wanted to mother/smother her baby brother and T wanted to pretend he didn’t exist. Within minutes, they were bored. Luckily, there were many blue rubber gloves in the room and, as any old preschool teacher knows, these make excellent toys when blown up. The next day we visited again, this time with a special lovey blanket selected by A-1 for A-2. See how much she had matured since T’s birth. She didn’t ask for anything for herself, but T now needed numerous transforming creatures to comfort his loss of baby status in the family.

We planned an excellent reception for A-2’s homecoming, complete with balloons and cake. I guess I got the kids too excited, however, because when Mom, Dad, and baby brother arrived, they yanked Mom from the car. We now have a lovely video of her wincing in pain while I exclaim, “Oh, look at him. He’s so little and cute,” in a fruitless effort to make A-1 and T happy he exists. A-2's arrival did not thrill his sibs as much as me. Even the dogs were depressed. But I was one happy grandmother getting to cuddle "Lucky #7."

Grandmothers, please share your stories.

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