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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Family · #2319932
The night I became a Memaw. Nothing went as expected, but all ends well, really well!
Tickled Pink: Grandchildren are Grand Children
By Donna Lowich

The ring of the phone didn’t wake me; it startled me. After all, you can’t be awakened if you’re not sleeping and I was much too excited to sleep. Who could sleep? I merely closed my eyes, anxious for the next few hours to pass. It was a momentous night in my life; some time this night, I would become a grandma!

My husband, Walter, picked up the phone. As we expected, it was our son, Jeffrey. The doctor said the baby could be born any minute. Any minute? After waiting at the hospital all day, we had come home for a while. We now had a thirty-minute drive back to the hospital. We panicked. Walt helped me to the car, barely able to speak. When we did finally speak, our rattled nerves gave way to bickering disguised as conversation.

“Walter, after all this, we’re going to miss it.”

“I’m going as fast as I can.”

“Can’t you go a little faster?” As Walter pressed on the accelerator, I let up on my insistence for the need for speed. “Uh, maybe you better slow down. Getting a ticket is not going to help -- Watch out, there’s a stop sign coming up!”

“I know. I can see it.” Walter shook his head but said nothing.

With a bit of creative driving, we made it to the maternity wing in about twenty minutes. As we got off the elevator, we saw Katie’s parents and her sister and brother-in-law in the tiny waiting room.

Despite the doctor’s prognostication, our baby was still deciding what time was the right time to enter this world. Whew! For us, it was hurry-up-and-wait. As we waited, I kept thinking of my daughter-in-law, Katie, Jeff and the baby, and what was happening just a short walk down the hall.

My thoughts were cut short as I began to receive sporadic text messages from Jeff:

“Waiting for the baby to drop a bit more"

And, bit later: “Still waiting”

Then the messages stopped. Not sure what was happening, we began to “bet” on the baby’s weight. Everyone, certain that she would be small (because of the doctor’s prognostication), was placing her weight at five pounds plus a differing number of ounces.

But, not me! This grandma was just as certain that our baby would surprise us yet again. I pronounced, “Six pounds!” Everyone thought I was being too optimistic. But I stuck to my prediction.

A little more than three hours after our chaotic arrival, I received one more message from Jeff:

“She’s here!”

We exited the cramped waiting room and were milling about the hallway. The maternity nurse approached and told us her vital stats: Our little Karaleen arrived on her own timetable at 3:27a.m. and surprised everyone (except me!) by tipping the scales at a full SIX pounds!

While we were talking to the nurse, we inadvertently provided Walter with a distraction. He meandered down the hall, closing in on the automatic door that separated us from Katie, Jeff and Karaleen.

The nurse informed us that it would be about thirty more minutes before we could see the baby. Walter had already placed himself in the electronic eye of the door so it wouldn’t close after it had been opened by a doctor leaving the area.

I saw him loitering and knew immediately what his plan was. “Expect Walter to break some hospital rules,” I thought to myself. I was certain we were going to be asked to leave; I didn’t expect that it would allow us to get into the room earlier. But that’s exactly what happened.

Katie and Jeff were taking turns holding her. Jeff held her and made sure that we each had a turn holding her. When Jeff placed her in my arms, I felt an immediate connection to Karaleen. She was my link from the past to the future. I looked at Karaleen and then at her daddy. All I could say was, “Now you know what a miracle looks like.”

Because of two spinal cord surgeries nearly twenty-five years before, I worried that in time, I wouldn't be able to hold her anymore. But, I tried to reassure myself, there will be other activities that we can do together. I want to read to her, and maybe when she's older she will want to write, too!

I looked down at Karaleen nestled in my arms. She gazed softly back at me. Overcome by thoughts and emotions too numerous to try to sort out, tears spilled out and were in a mad dash down my face. I was the only one crying but I didn’t mind. I was holding my granddaughter and all was right with the world.

Shortly before her first birthday, I fell and broke my shoulder. Soon after, with my arm in a sling, I sat next to Karalee in a restaurant. She smiled, pointed her finger at me and closed her little fist on her heart. I did the same with my good arm. Another connection!

By the age of three, I can say for certain that my worries about our activities when we are together were unfounded. Karaleen and I were putting together puzzles, watching movies and singing songs. And, of course, Karaleen brings out a book or two and “reads” to me.

We have also had our share of excursions and family outings: visits to an aquarium, petting zoo, Sesame Place, and a number of pizzerias. And, of course, the mall—a girl can’t get in too much shopping, no matter her age! These are just some of the ways we have connected, my sweet Karaleen and me.

Children learn what they see. As her daddy did before her, Karaleen has shown me the important things in life: family, friends, and the gift to be able to spend joyous times with them. That’s why I always say, “Grandchildren are grand children”.
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