This week I was the grandma. I rushed to Audra’s house to keep the children while she gave birth to another little one. This time she was experiencing a slow labor with long gaps in the pain. The work was worrisome. The hours passed slowly. Eventually, the contractions picked up and soon my third daughter was birthing her third daughter.
As the baby was born to us and we saw her little self all wet and soft, we realized the awesome power of life, and at the same moment felt the complete helplessness that defines us as humans. The baby girl was well prepared for her earthly journey. God built into her all that she would need to survive her lifetime. Her heart, her lungs, her stomach and internal organs, her skin and hair, her brain, and even her ears and eyes would make her able to grow, walk, read, talk, explore, and work in her spot on the planet.
Yet, we could do nothing for her except to love her and make her comfortable. We could not guarantee her to be strong and well. We had not given her breath or made her blood flow through the arteries and veins.We could not keep her alive if God deemed otherwise.
It is hard to be the grandma knowing what I know now. I know that this new baby’s infant days will pass quickly and that before her parents can imagine it, she will grow into a toddler and then a little child twirling in the center of the living room showing off her pink dress ruffles to Daddy. In a few more months (or so it seemed to me) she will turn thirteen, and a few minutes later go off to college and/or head down the aisle as a bride. Before long, she will be calling her Mama to come assist with her own baby’s introduction into the world.
My girl will try, as I did, and as you did with your brood to make them happy and healthy. She will try to never miss a day of fun and learning. To make every day count, but time marches unmercifully on.
I helped my daughter and I watched her suffer and strain and I saw the tears of exhaustion turn to tears of joy at the sight of her precious baby. I was honored to be there. I was happy to be there, and terror stricken, and dismayed, all rolled into one grandmother.
I laughed. I cried. I hoped. I feared. And I thought of you, Mama, and how much I have always depended on you. How much I needed you and still do. I hope that I am as good a mama to each of my daughters as you have been to me.
Love Your Third Daughter,