Big Lots. That’s where I was when my daughter called. “Mom, can y’all come home? I’m really sick.” I hung up and stopped looking at Halloween decorations and cup towels and scratchy sheets. “We have to go,” I told my friend. In less than five minutes we were in my daughter’s living room and she was standing in front of me with zero color in her face. My gut clenched. What was wrong? I had thought a stomach bug or maybe an earache, but this was something bigger. She opened her hand and held it out to me. Three pregnancy tests. All saying the same thing. My daughter was pregnant. Pregnant. A baby was coming. A baby. Before summer. I cried.
Richard and I are making plans to go see his mom for Thanksgiving and her birthday. We are so thrilled to get to go. His mom is the best at visits. She will make us so much food and we will eat all of it! There will be tons of family around and everything will be even more special this year because Summer has decided to keep the baby secret until we are there. We find ourselves in a Hallmark store looking for the perfect ornament to put an ultra-sound picture in. We’re going to wrap it up and film her face as she opens it. We can’t wait. We are laughing as we check out. We are like kids. A baby is coming. Our grandbaby!
It’s Thanksgiving. The room is warm and full of people who love us. Richard’s mom is in a chair and the center of attention. Smiles so big nobody can contain them. Summer hands her the present and she opens it to see the tiny picture of this tiny little human. She starts to cry and laugh and cheers erupt. The surprise went off without a hitch! By next Thanksgiving my mother-in-law will have a new person to love.
All through Christmas I find myself thinking, “This time next year we will have a baby in our lives. We will be buying presents and planning trips to see Santa and thinking about what is breakable.” I can’t wait. Bring it on.
We are starting to think about the nursery. Summer calls one day and says, “Mama, I think we should put the nursery in the room with the library and I think it should be sloths.” I smile. Of course Summer’s baby would spend its’ beginning in a room spilling over with books. And, of course, the nursery would be a little left of center. I immediately start looking for sloth nurseries. They don’t exist, but I’m not worried. We will make this happen. For sure. Our grandbaby is coming!
It will be our 25th wedding anniversary this year. We are making plans to sneak away for a week. It will be a time to reflect on the years spent with our daughter before the baby comes. We have passed all of the really scary markers and are letting ourselves fully accept that we are about to be grandparents. We shake our heads. It’s hard to believe. Us. Grandparents. How did that happen?
Forgive me for this, but I am going to stop our journey towards the birth of our grandchild at this point. As much as I want to finish that blog, I need to say something else. I need to say something else because a few weeks ago I received a call from a young man running for Senator in our state. Well, it wasn’t actually him, but someone working for him. And, I liked this person I talked to. He was very courteous and respectful and I hung up glad I answered. His boss is not a member of the party I generally support, but I decide to do a little research on where he stands on the issues. The first one I check is his stance on abortion. He supports it up to the twentieth week of pregnancy. Some argue even further. I am disappointed. But not surprised. I let it go and move on. I’m a busy grandma now with a lot to do. Then, I see one of his ads. His kids are in it. He’s talking about not wanting to let them down when they question where he was when important things were on the line.
This ad. This commercial. This 15 seconds bought with lots of dollars devastates me. His kids are adorable. They obviously love him. He obviously loves them. So why? Why does he think it’s ok to stop a little person’s life twenty weeks into the process of them being here? Twenty weeks. That’s a long time. That’s time enough to excite a Great-Grandma and buy Christmas ornaments and start planning a nursery. Time enough for two getting-older type people to find the magic in life again with the promise of a new grand-baby. Time enough for a girl to become a mommy.
If this nice young man with the engaging smile were here in my living room right now, he would tell me very seriously that not every baby has the beginning that our baby did. Sometimes, there is no nursery planned, no family celebration, no hope. I know that. How could I not? I’ve been an educator, a friend, a mommy, a member of our society. But, I’m sorry, I don’t think those are reasons enough to not value that little life above all else. I mean, what is more important than protecting the completely innocent? How can we build a successful society where we take care of and love all people when we don’t even do that? When it’s not accepted that that’s where we must start? Why can’t he film a commercial where he walks through the streets with his adorable kids talking about the changes he wants to make to the adoption process? Changes that will make it cheaper and more accessible? I’ll throw all of my tax dollars and votes to that guy. Happily.
But, and I’m completely sure of this, I can’t pretend like this isn’t a big deal to me long enough to vote. Because it is the biggest deal to me. The very biggest. To me, it is the jumping off point for everything else. I know that not everyone agrees with me and I’m ok with that. But, if you love me and I have a voice in your life, I will never stop trying to convince you otherwise. Again with the big deal thing. I don’t hate you, but I can never agree with you and the charming, young man with the nice smile never, ever gets my vote. Ever.