I was doing all right without being a grandmother. Friends close to my age who were going to have grandchildren already had them. The time had passed when, if my one and only child was going to reproduce, she would have. In my family, the women have been grandmothers by their late thirties and early forties. My daughter was already 40. We had no reason to believe she’d have a baby.
I did what people do. I accepted it. Not every woman will be a mother. Not every mother will be a grandmother. All of this to say that after enough years go by, you’re sure that ship has sailed.
When you don’t think you’ll have grandchildren, there’s nothing to prepare you for how the news will feel. It’s like having someone hand you a check for a million dollars – except that if someone gave me such a check, I wouldn’t spend time saying things like “Who, me?” and “Would you look at the name on that check and make sure it’s mine?” I’d grab the money and run.
My daughter came for a visit in the spring of 2004 and handed me a check for a million dollars. It took a few seconds to get past the disbelief. I asked questions, I’m sure, just to hear the news again. Yes, she repeated, I’m pregnant. Are you sure? Yes, we’re sure. Tests? Yes. You’ve seen the doctor? Yes. And everything is good? Yes, everything’s fine.
Here are some of our begats: My daughter, Cathleen, married Edan, who came here from Israel several years ago. My mother, Cathleen’s grandmother, was a good-looking, curly-headed woman with big eyes and full lips. Edan’s grandmother on his father’s side, I’m told, looked much like that. Since Edan looks like both his grandmother and Cathleen’s grandmother, it seems logical their union could produce a curly-headed girl with big eyes and a great smile.
Caedan Ray will be three years old on Monday and I’ll be in Los Angeles to join her parents and her pre-school friends (she calls them “all my kids”) to share birthday cupcakes.
If you’d told me five years ago that I would be packing tonight for this birthday trip, I wouldn’t have believed you. But if you tell me now that my Thanksgivings will forever be more meaningful because of a silly little girl born in 2004, I won’t question it.
Ó By Anita Garner