1: A Grandmother Is Born

1: A Grandmother Is Born

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

A Grandmother Is Born

When a child is born, so are grandmothers.

~Judith Levy

It’s the phone call I’ve been awaiting for nine long months, yet when it comes, it’s still a shock.

“This is it,” our son-in-law says with a certain catch in his voice. “Jill’s in labor.”

And so the adventure begins. On the ride to the hospital, my husband and I cannot speak. For a man and woman who are about to become grandparents for the first time, it’s all been said. All the fervent prayers for a healthy, whole baby already have been issued up to a higher power.

So we ride in silence, the silence of apprehension, excitement and joy waiting to explode.

At the birthing suite, all is surreal. While the rest of the inhabitants of planet Earth go about their business and pleasure on this brilliantly sunny afternoon, the entire world, for me, is enclosed within the walls of this waiting area.

My husband tries to read.

I pace in an unlikely caricature of those fathers-in-waiting from the Neanderthal days when mothers labored alone. Suddenly, I understand how those fathers must have felt.

Every now and then the midwife appears with a “bulletin.” Those bulletins take on the breathless significance of a pronouncement about the future of world peace.

An hour passes. Two. Three. “Soon,” our son-in-law tells us breathlessly in his one and only break from being on-site labor coach.

And at 3:42 on an ordinary afternoon, standing at the door of a modern birthing suite, I hear a cry. A baby’s cry.

My heart stops.

Nothing in the world could have prepared me for this moment. Nothing will ever be the same for me in this glorious universe.

Today, I am somebody’s grandmother!

Hannah — all seven pounds, thirteen ounces of her — has burst into the world.

I meet her moments later and fall madly, desperately, hopelessly in love. Nestled in my daughter’s arm is this child of my child, a perfect pink and white miniature. I weep and laugh and thank God for allowing us this moment, this gift, this day.

Time is suspended. It is the deepest, most profound privilege to watch these new parents as they cuddle their baby daughter and explore her incredibly sweet face, her silky skin, her downy head.

Our son-in-law’s parents are as speechless as we are. Hannah is the “we” of their son and our daughter, made tangible. In this room, on this day, we all know that this infant is our link to immortality. And this gritty, urban hospital suddenly feels holy.

It is another spectacular moment when I watch Hannah’s great-grandmother — my own mother — meet her. I bear joyous witness to the awesome, incredible continuity of life’s longing for itself.

Later, her new aunts and uncles greet Hannah, laugh joyously at her perfection, and touch her tiny, tiny hand.

We are dumbstruck, overwhelmed subjects of this tiny empress, and she seems to revel in the attention on this first day of her life.

This being, after all, the age of technology, the moments are dutifully recorded on video camera. Someday, we will watch — and laugh at our foolishness.

But for this day, it is totally acceptable to worship at the bedside of Hannah and to marvel at the new life that begins with the love of a man and a woman.

Despite all we enlightened moderns know of the biology of life — despite all the excesses of this Information Age — the wonder is the same. The awe remains undiminished.

A baby is born. The universal family of man — and our family — grows once again.

It is as old as time and as new as tomorrow’s dawn.

The dance of life goes on. The circle grows.

And a dazed, overwhelmed new grandmother tiptoes out of a room where a miracle has happened, wondering how she ever got to be so lucky.

~Sally Friedman
Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners