Our family was celebrating a birthday at my daughter Karen’s home. After dessert, Karen walked over to me and placed a gift bag in front of me. Whoa, what is this? After all it was not my birthday. I reached in the bag and pulled out a bib that said “Grandma loves me.” My reaction says it all "Oh, are you and Paul getting a puppy?” Duh. Karen, not being surprised by my naíve response, clarified. Karen and Paul were expecting their first child. Little did I know how that announcement would change my life forever. It is the only time when a person is involved in miracle-making. I got very quiet (not my usual reaction), for I felt a brand a new emotion, awe, joy, anxiety, all coming together. After all, this was different, it was happening to my daughter.
She took to pregnancy like she took to all that life has to offer. Accepted all the phases of being pregnant, from the throwing-up, feeling the first sign of life, and becoming more and more uncomfortable — she slowed down a little,and one month before the big event, she quit teaching water aerobics, because she didn’t fit into her swimsuit (I offered one of mine, but she wouldn’t be caught dead in my “ugly” suits).
On a Wednesday, three weeks before her due date, Karen started feeling contractions, and was handling it so well. By late afternoon, she went to West Sub, and the midwives were waiting for her. I went there, as she asked me to be with her and Paul. She suggested that I go for a swim, as it will probably take a while. As I stepped into the pool, the phone rang”¦ I came into the birthing room, and Paul was standing there looking through the book of baby names, as he said that maybe it might be a girl and they didn’t have a girl’s name. (Several months before, I shared with Karen that I had dreamed that she had a girl as I peeked into her womb — how vivid. She told me to call Paul and tell him, as he had a dream that they were going to have a boy. Laughingly he said that since he was going to be the father, his dream took precedence, so I was to keep out of Karen’s womb!) As he was saying names outloud, he came to the name Amelia and said that they would have a girl, and she will be named Amelia.
The water bag was lanced, and Karen went into real labor. No time for the epidural. Two and half hours later, Miss Amelia came into the world. I asked to say a prayer:
Welcome, welcome to this breathtaking world. We have been waiting for you. Waiting to see your beautiful face, to hear the sound of your cry, to kiss you, hold you, rock you. You are the fruit of our love, of our hearts, of our souls.
We have prayed for this day, and now it is here. But no amount of anticipation could have prepared us for you. You are a miracle. You are a gift from God. You are ours.
May God watch over you in love and bless you with health. How can we express our gratitude to you, God?
You have sent us a perfect blessing.
Thank YOU, bless YOU , Source of all life. Amen
It was 10:30 PM. My two sons were notified, and at 11:30 in walked my two sons with flowers — the looks on their faces when they saw Amelia — impossible to describe.
I was called Oma. I said the Grandmother’s prayer for a new grandchild. I want to share this prayer because it said so beautifully what I was feeling when I held Amelia in the coming days: Gift of God, precious child, miracle, my little one. Lay your head on my shoulder. It seems that it was yesterday that I held your mother in my arms just this way. You are a sweet blessing to me, a tiny messenger of joy. Welcome to this magnificent life. May God grace you with all things that are good and shield you from all harm. May the bonds of our family be your strength. May our love be your comfort. May our faith sustain you. May God be with you , now and always. Amen.
The adventure of being a grandparent gets better and better, and now Zachary has entered our lives, but that is another story.
by Anita Banas