Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Gift of a Grandchild

Yesterday morning I was blessed with the birth of my new grandson, Lucas Michael. There is no greater happiness than to hold your newborn grandchild close to your heart, tracing his petal-soft cheeks and down-covered head with your fingers, and drinking in the sight of his innocent face. I gaze at him and wonder -- will he be strong and quiet like his father, or a little dynamo like his baby cousin. His deep blue eyes stare back so seriously at us as he absorbs his new world of light and sound and touch. I wonder what he will love and dream of, this blessed new child of ours.

My husband and I were fortunate last evening to have a few minutes alone with Lucas and his parents; we talked quietly and I rocked Lucas in my arms. Times have changed since my children were born. Then it was a more private affair, with parents alone throughout labor and delivery; many times the grandparents were allowed merely to view their new grandbaby through the nursery window. Now we can bond with them immediately. We are allowed to be part of the process -- checking in on Dad & Mom during labor, spending long hours in the waiting room with great anticipation in our hearts, and then being welcomed into the birthing room to touch our precious grandbabies when they are truly "fresh from God."

With the blessed relief of epidurals for this generation of mothers, labor is a much more peaceful process. My sons have been able to support and soothe their wives during labor, and even though, of course, there is pain, the epidurals make it more bearable. Walking into the labor room today I am struck by the quietness that precedes the strenuous pushing stage. Of course, delivering a baby is still painful and exhausting, but for the most part, I think today's mothers are more serene than those of us who tried to tough it out with the breathing techniques taught to us for natural childbirth.

I think today's fathers are much more bonded with their babies than in years past, because they are encouraged to share in the prenatal visits and the ultrasounds. I remember the awe in my son's voice after the very first ultrasound when he saw the tiny beginnings of fingers. By the time the baby is born, the father feels he is welcoming a beloved old friend --

As a grandmother, I will carry forever in my heart the sight of my own son's faces as they presented their newborn children to us. They glowed with love for these tiny infants. Watching their large hands gently cradle these babies I remembered their own tiny newborn hands -- what a miracle we experience as our grown babies have babies of their own.

Today I am ecstatic!!!

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