Finger Hold: Little Fingers Pulling Heart Strings

The Chronicles of a Grandmother

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The Christmas Genie


The Christmas season of 2008 overflowed in excitement from the announcement that a new family member was expected to arrive within a matter of months, nine to be precise. While I wanted to shout the spectacular news from the rooftop, I was confined to secrecy.  Those of you who have experienced the heart breaking feeling of losing a planned pregnancy will understand her reasoning. As her mother, friend, and a woman, I empathized with her feelings and honored her request.

Now I usually don’t engage in idle gossip or share information that others have entrusted me to keep to myself, but this secret was different. This was the event that I had longed for, and now I had to wait a little longer before I could tell anyone other than my husband.  I felt like the bottle that imprisoned the genie; and like the genie, this secret was trying to escape.  Keeping myself occupied with other matters such social networking on Facebook didn’t help. Every time there was a discussion about grandchildren or anything remotely connected to children (toys, Santa Clause, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, etc.), I wanted to comment in big capital letters, I’M GOING TO BE A GRANDMOTHER!  So whenever I felt the urge to “blow the lid”, well, I just pounded the cork a little deeper into the bottle.  Well, at least I can start shopping for things that the baby will need, I thought—yah, right.

“I would wait awhile,” my daughter said. “There isn’t any reason to start buying stuff when we don’t even know if it’s a boy or girl.” My daughter, Autumn being practical minded, quickly discourage any notions of going on a baby shopping spree. In her childhood years however, “practical” was the most unlikely word to describe Autumn. Given a name that perfectly suits her personality (continuously changing), when I think of Autumn the girl, words like emotional, dramatic, free spirited, unpredictable, and spontaneous immediately comes to mind. Almost any word becomes her, but practical. Somewhere along the way, I blinked, and Autumn seemed to transform overnight from a capricious child that only lived in the moment into a vibrant, responsible, dependable, practical, mature woman giving me advice on sensible spending.

This is just too much, I thought. Now I have to wait until the sonogram reveals the sex before I can start shopping for the baby? Did they stop making unisex baby clothes, or what?

“I’m just saying,” she continued. “Why spend a load of money on neutral colors when we have the option to know exactly what we should buy, if we just wait awhile?

“Okay; okay,” I said. “At least I can start looking for stuff that all babies need regardless of the sex, such as cribs and baby furniture.”

“You can look, but don’t buy anything just yet,” Autumn replied. “I want to be there when decisions about furniture are made.” I understood her point, and she made perfect sense; still she was taking the fun out of being a grandma.

So for the remaining of the Christmas season, my only option was to count the minutes before I could pop the cork. Time moved slowly as I awaited my granddaughter’s arrival, but the 86,400 minutes that I had to wait before I could release the genie from the bottle seemed to move the slowest.

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A Magical Season

Finger Hold Blog 1 (Christmas Scene) 

The season has arrived. The mailman is cramming the mailboxes with catalogs and flyers, announcing spectacular sales. The mall periodically plays Christmas carols over the loud speakers, hoping to keep shoppers in the spending mood; and I occasionally find myself watching an old movie about the joys of giving.  I like the ones where the opening scene consists of two children listening to an old woman telling a story of her younger years; and I imagine myself in that role.  I expect that day will soon arrive, where I will fascinate my grandchildren with tales from my past that seem to fit with any occasion. I visualize my grand and great grandchildren draped around me as I recall old memories, just as my great grandmother did with me. While the subject matter of this blog is centered on my grandchildren, the chronicles of a grandmother are the underlying theme.  As such, I will try to keep the stories in chronological order, as not to confuse my readers. So in light of the holiday spirit, my first story will begin with the announcement of my first grandchild.

It was around this time of the year, four years ago, that my daughter called with a special announcement. I knew that she and her husband were trying, so I was secretly hoping to hear something soon.  I say secretly because I never let on to my children just how much I wanted to be a grandmother. More than anything else, I wanted my children to mentally develop through traditional experiences such as school, graduation, and college or single life experiences before settling down with children. So when my daughter would ask if I was ready to be a grandmother, I always replied, “I’m ready to be a grandmother when you’re ready to be a mother.” Secretly, however, I wanted grandchildren.

”You see, as far as I can remember, I wanted to be a grandmother, probably before I wanted to be a mother. In fact, whenever my husband talks about innate characteristics, he often says that “while most girls are born to be mothers, Sandie was born to be a grandmother.” That’s most likely because my great grandmother and I shared a special relationship, which isn’t surprising because she had a special relationship with all children.  She was the most kind, and I wanted to be just like her, only more physically active.  After she died, I wondered how our relationship would have change, had she been my younger grandmother instead of my older great grandmother. Then I visualized my older self in that role. The grandmother that I want to be is founded on that image.  But let’s get back to the story.

“I have a surprise for you,” Autumn said with her voice hitting a higher note as she spoke each word.

“You’re pregnant?”

Now if Hallmark was telling this story, vehicles, fence posts, and rooftops would be saturated in five inches of “pure undriven snow”; the sunlight would glisten rainbow colors as its reflection bounced against the frozen yard; icicles would dangle from the window ceils while snowflake designs would be sandblasted into the glass; and I would be wrapped in a tattered shawl as I stirred the embers in the fireplace. But living in the deep country of Southeast Texas (code: swamp land), vehicles, doorjambs, and sidewalks are guarded by tan and black mosquitoes; brown and rusted leaves lightly blanket the green grass; and spackles of dirt are pressed against the glass because I don’t do windows. Did I mention that the fireplace is a decorative piece?

So I don’t have that magical scene that best describes how the universe ran in perfect harmony on the day that I learned that I was an expecting grandmother.  Nor could I tell you whether it was in November or December that my daughter first told me the spectacular news. I just know that it was approaching wintertime because I had just finished complaining that the mosquitoes in Southeast Texas don’t hibernate, they just wear jackets. I can however, tell you that the moment she confirmed the pregnancy, my entire world changed; the universe seemed to move in perfect harmony; and life became a magical adventure. Everything was picture-perfect, even though the environment would suggest otherwise.