7:30 a.m, tomorrow. My niece is being induced. She’s having a baby! A baby, I say. It’s not like we didn’t know. She’s been pregnant for a full nine months and I’ve watched her blossom and grow throughout the entire time. But for some reason, the true and real fact that tomorrow (or the next day depending on nature’s will) she will become a mother just hasn’t sunk into the deep, or even shallow, recesses of my brain.
Here’s the low down. Our (and by our I mean me and my sister) only girl is about to have a baby girl. My sister has five kids. Three steps (Hayleigh and the twin boys) and two sons of her own. I have five kids. Three boys of my own, plus two stepsons. Ten awesome kids between the two of us and only one girl. Our ‘Sister’ girl, our Hayleigh.
I could write about our girl having a girl. That’s pretty awesome stuff. But that’s not what my heart is really feeling. I am thrilled to finally have some girl in this family, but my sister and I both love our boys with a fierceness that is strong and sometimes scary. Boys are amazing.
What I need to write about is this feeling that is rolling in like an early morning fog. It’s seeping and creeping and winding its way around my heart. We are about to have a baby! Life! And I am so excited and ready. I am also feeling a tangled web of other things too.
Although I am an aunt, I have to confess that I have failed miserably in that department. It just so happens that my sister’s two biological sons are the exact same ages as my younger two sons and so we sort of agreed to focus on being moms over being great aunts to each others’ kids. Our nephews always knew they were loved by their mom’s sister, but we weren’t the doting aunts who spoiled the offspring that weren’t hers. We were both too busy with our own. It was a mutual understanding and it’s always been fine.
But there is something about this new baby that has awakened a feeling within me. Maybe it’s a feeling of family? A feeling of love? A wave of nostalgia? Perhaps a bit of each of those.
I know that it has stirred a longing for my mom.
I’ve said it before and I shall say it again. She should be here for this. She would want to be here. We Want Her Here.
My mom, one of the most amazing women you’d ever hope to meet, was an incredible grandmother. But sadly, she only got to play that role for about 6 years. And the last of those, she was sick.
This sweet baby girl, who we haven’t even met yet, is helping me remember and relive the best parts of my mother. My mom was one of the most ridiculously generous people you’d ever meet. She did not know the definition of moderation or ‘less is more’. More was always more. And more was always better.
I’ve already bought this baby over a dozen VHS Disney movies at Goodwill as an homage to my mom. It’s what she would have done. Good sense and practicality be damned. In that moment, standing in the ugly aisle of a thrift store, my heart said “Yes!” and so I did. And I did it for her. Both hers. Christine (our mom) and our new baby, Lenny.
Our Grandmother, for that is what my mom was called by the grandkids, is gone, but now we have another.
We have a Mamie. Mamie gets to be the grandmother. Isn’t she the lucky one?
It’s mind boggling that my baby sister will be a grandmother in a matter of hours (days?). She’s only 42. Secretly, I have to chuckle. But at the same time, I shall become a great aunt. Or rather…a Great Aunt. For I shall be great.
This new bundle of life is going to forever remind us of the bundle of life and energy and love and generosity and sass and spice that we lost all those years ago. This new baby is going to help us remember things. She’s going to remind us to FEEL the realness of our days, the brevity, the moments that once breathed out are not ever to be breathed in again.
Our Sister Girl’s baby girl is our chance to let our mother live again. To love and share and spoil and teach all the lessons that should have been taught by our mother and would have been shared if time had not run out.
We now have a chance, a chance to be the Grandmother that our mother never got to be. To be the Aunt we were too busy to become. To be the Women we want our girls to believe in and our boys to strive to partner with.
Although life has unexpected endings, it also gives unbelievable new beginnings. We have lived through bad, now we will live through good. And we are grateful for it all.
I am thankful for the memories of my mother. I am thankful that new life reminds me of loss, even when it hurts. I am thankful to share life and love with this baby and her wonderful mother and Mamie. I am thankful that I feel the connection between life and death and ultimately, life again. Always.
Thankful, I am.