Saturday, January 28, 2012

Miles and Miles of Smiles

How’s the baby? What’s new with Milo? Tell me Milo stories! That’s all I hear from my friends these days, and the questions make me smile.

Who wouldn’t want to talk about a three-week old grandson?

I tell everyone Milo is fine, settling in, helping his parents figure out what they are doing and what he needs, when he needs it. Mostly, of course, he eats and sleeps and makes those soft, endearing baby noises. Sometimes, of course, Milo cries. All babies do, and all you can do is pick them up and love them and hope the crying stops.

I also tell everyone that my role in Milo’s life right now is mostly to grin at him, either when I hold him and rock him in my grandmother’s golden oak rocker or when someone else holds him. Sometimes, Milo grins back, but mostly he dozes or relaxes. Hey, he’s only three weeks old!

Yesterday, when I was sitting next to Milo’s mom, grinning at him as he slept in her arms, she asked if I wanted to hold him for a few minutes before I had to leave. “I want to hold him for years,” I said. But he was settled in, so I let him continue to sleep in his mother’s arms, where he looked so cozy and happy.

Milo and I will have years to snuggle. I just know it.    

Heck, I knew a baby was on the way before I got the call on July 13. Eight days earlier, on my way to a Giants’ game on the streetcar, I was sitting across from a pretty red-haired woman holding a baby girl. I smiled at the woman. She smiled back. When I turned away, I had a strong impression, just a picture in my mind, a sunlit image of a little boy walking in between my daughter-in-law and son. They were all holding hands and smiling. The image was so real that it looked like a photograph.  

That was a heads-up from the wee one, I am certain.

After I got the official call on July 13, I sat at my desk, grinning. My mind was racing and every cell in my body was thrilled. A grandchild – my opportunity to pay back my kind and loving grandmothers and also to make the most of an experience my own mother wanted badly and missed. At the age of 58, my mother retired from her government job and enrolled in college, her way of preparing to be a better grandmother. Four months later, before I became pregnant, my mother died.

I have shared the experience with Carol and Beth and other friends. But now it would be my turn to be a grandmother – and oh what a grandmother I planned to be! Someone like Auntie Mame, always up for an adventure, but also a protector and defender and confidante. I couldn’t wait!

Fast forward to 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 7. I called my daughter-in-law to see when she might be available for some pampering. Susan -- her mom and my dear friend – and I had offered take the mom-to-be out for a pedicure. The phone rang and rang. The silence was louder than it should have been, but I ignored it. At first.

I started working on some newspaper story assignments. Suddenly I raced off to vacuum the bedroom. Then I ran downstairs to throw in a load of laundry. There, I ran into my landlord, grandfather of five. I told him I was jumpy and somehow deeply intent on cleaning everything right this minute. “You’re nesting,” he said, and we laughed.

Running up the stairs from the laundry room, I shivered. “He’s coming,” I thought. “The baby is  coming today.”

I went back to writing, and tidied up the apartment in between paragraphs. A few minutes before 3 p.m., I sent a text to my son saying I was cleaning like crazy and wondering if the baby was coming. He wrote back that contractions were underway!

I knew to say no more. I also realized that with first babies, sometimes contractions stop after they start. But four and half hours later, the call came – the parents-to-be were at the hospital. Just after midnight, another call: “We have a baby,” my son said.

That was just three weeks ago today. I am completely besotted with this little baby, and ever since he was born, I’ve been smiling all the time. Smiling when I am with Milo, smiling when I think about him and smiling when I look at the photo of him on my refrigerator door.

And of course I smile when asked about him, so ask away!


  1. So glad for you and Milo and I must say a little envious, it will be a real long shot if I ever have that experience. So enjoy and relish in it for two.

  2. Make that relishing for three!! I don't have a crystal ball but I'm thinking being a grandmother is not in my future either!! I can get 'baby fixes' all I want at work however, but somehow, it doesn't feel the same.
    Is it my memory playing tricks - or does Milo look like his daddy?!