I have exciting news! I am now a grandmother-to-be. My daughter and son-in-law’s baby boy will be born around December 20th. It is a time of awe and urgent patience. Waiting is not the right label for this state of hope. Time will invisibly unfold its wings, cell by cell, revealing a human child when the stars, the hormones, and my professor daughter’s semester is over on December 12th. If the little feller bides his time, she will somehow get all of her grading done before his arrival. She can only plan so much in advance, tailoring her syllabuses accordingly.
I am gaining a new role to play, one which I have long desired. My eyes have been misting over beautiful baby clothes in catalogues for the last twenty years. The entry of a new family member into our midst is as astonishing to me as it is to every family. The continuity of emerging generations is becoming more palpable as I age. I know of my recent ancestors and a smattering about more distant ones, but living with three generations is something to experience. Plenty of my friends here at Kendal are great-grandparents. My own grandmother got to hold both of my daughters before she died. Photographs are faded proof.
Did you know? Because a female fetus is born with all the eggs she will ever have in her small ovaries, when I carried my daughter, she already held the egg which is now becoming her son. So he was potentially there inside of me as well. This biological connection helps to underscore the powerful thread of family bonding, partially constructed of mothers and daughters and eggs. Of course fathers have their own paternal bonds, DNA and otherwise, and I am so grateful this child is born in the time of equal co-parenting.
Which leads me to the losing that is happening simultaneously with the having of such wonderful news. Richard so looked forward to being a grandfather. He always operated within long arcs of time. He anticipated sharing his loves and passions with the next generation on our sixty acres of land. He wanted to share his love of the earth with gardening, animals, and farming. His love of skiing, hiking, and riding, and his love of the arts would have been communicated in his wanting to discover and support whatever his grandson would come to love. As a therapist, Richard was steeped in the wonder of connecting early childhood development through the adult stories people told of their lives. It was a miracle of love to him; unraveling the wounds of the past to better heal the pain carried forward into the present. To share in the earliest journeys of evolving personhood with a grandson would have been a great blessing.
Since my son-in-law also lost his father in childhood, this child will not have a living blood relative grandfather. I will not have a partner to share this new role with. My daughter and I both feel a tinge of sorrow concurrent with our joy. The early factors of my grandson’s life are already being written. The state of our country and our threatened world is part of his story. I can only imagine what his generation will face and what his contribution will be. What will be called forth from all the new members of society as humanity faces our dire legacies?
The upcoming dates of Father’s Day and Richard’s birthday heighten our nostalgia in this month. Already my unborn grandchild heralds the unity of having and losing, joy and sorrow, and the reality of Love. A new being to love is coming soon to a screen very near and dear to me.