You know how you hate it when people say things as though they discovered them, when you’ve known about these things forever?
- The sun setting over the ocean in Puerto Vallarta is absolutely heavenly!
- You should try the Brazilian ribeye steak at Hermanos; it’s fantastic!
- The grammar in that book is simply atrocious!
Or, having a grand baby is the best thing in the world!
I put my desire for a grandchild on the back burner a few years ago because my wonderful kids were doing oh-so wonderful things, but producing grandchildren was not one of those wonderful things. So I enjoyed my kids for who they were. And that was great. But then my oldest child got pregnant.
Remy Marcel, arriving 6 1/2 weeks early, spent his first three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. I held his tiny body for hours at a time. I changed his “preemie”-size diapers, and called him My Precious. I even got to bottle-feed him freshly pumped breast milk now and then – a few millilitres at a time. I watched the monitor as his heart rate skyrocketed and then came tumbling back down (my own heart mimicking his in my anxiety); I saw how his respirations changed on a dime.
At three weeks of age he came home. I held his slightly bigger but still tiny body for hours at a time – sometimes because he needed it and sometimes because I couldn’t resist that snuggly warmth next to my chest. I changed his diapers – still tiny but not “preemie” anymore. I called him My Precious. In between nursings, I bottle-fed him breast milk replete with probiotics, to soothe his troubled tummy. I gradually learned to trust that his heart was beating just fine without a monitor to tell me so.
And he began to make sounds apart from crying for milk: he burped loudly, and he sneezed often.
Then at three months of age he came to the lake with us. Soon he was making sounds that were not cries or burps or sneezes – they were coos! Such music I have not heard since my own children were babies. And he began to show his personality, covering his face when he’d had enough of our adult noise, scrunching up his face in pain when he had gas, letting out contented kitten-sighs when his tummy was full and sleep was upon him, and grimacing when his Auntie Meg sang “there comes a moment when my heart must stand alone, on this lonely path I’ve chosen like a house that’s not a home.” * And one day, I held him close and smiled at him, and . . . wonder of wonders, he smiled back. And that rocked my world.
And now I know why people say some of the things they do.
* (Nikki Yanofsky – Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games theme song; p.s. you already have solid musical taste, little grandson!)