I feel pretty optimistic about life today. Yesterday, at 3:06 in the morning, a small child emerged into the world. His entry was arduous for him and his mother, my step-daughter. A labour of love. A work of wonder.
Because his grandfather, my husband, is Greek, I am now a Yia Yia.
Already I see the ears of his father, the nose of his grandfather, on his tiny little face. Too early for signs of eye color and personality. Too soon to speculate on the mark he will make on the world. But from the moment I first saw his small form under a delivery room heating light, this diminutive boy touched my heart.
There are many people who I know feel the same way I do. Dena comes from a very large extended family. All combined, there are two great-grandmothers, seven grandparents (including me), two half siblings, and a slew of aunts, uncles, and cousins anxious to meet her new son. People who will remember how she was at the same age. Who are able to distinguish the similarities between her first cries, gurgles, and movements and her son’s.
I do not have the knowledge they do. I don’t share the same bloodline or history. I met this little boy’s mother when she was eleven. When ringlets of honey-colored hair grazed her dark hazel eyes. When I learned she was a tomboy with a mischievous laugh and generous heart. When I struggled to find the balance between friend and step-parent. Found myself overwhelmed by suddenly having five very different adolescents instead of two under my roof. Not always able to give the youngest all the attention she deserved.
I hope she knows I did my best. I hope she forgives my missteps. Most of all, I hope she knows I love her. Want the very best for her and her new family and will always be here for her if she needs help navigating the world of motherhood. . . and being a step-parent. That is one history we do share.
Next month, I will meet our little grandson for the first time. Watch how his grandfather, my husband, tears up when Dena places the small babe in his arms. Then, his great-grandmother’s arms. And, finally, mine.
There is a long line forming to vie for his affections. Spoil him and share family stories with him. I’m okay waiting my turn. Finding a way to share a different kind of story with him. Like falling in love with his grandfather. Explaining to him that love is not limited to ancestry and DNA.
Most of all, I can’t wait to tell him what I know about the world. About the remarkable diversity and commonality of its people. To experience it all over again through his young eyes.
Already, I feel a bond with him. Perhaps it lies in his name.
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