Worth the Wait

Waiting room reflections: anticipating the arrival of my first grandchild.

“Anticipation, it’s making me wait, it’s keeping me waiting.” Those of us old enough to be grandparents may remember the Heinz commercial from the ’70s that showed people eagerly anticipating the excruciatingly slow pouring of ketchup and the song about anticipation that accompanied it. That tune seems to keep popping in my mind as I wait, not for ketchup, but for my first grandchild!

It seems only fitting that I’m sitting in the labor and delivery waiting room at Saint Francis Hospital as I’m writing my first blog about grandparenting. My daughter is a few doors down, actively in labor but, as we all know, there are no reliable estimated time of arrivals for babies, especially first ones. They come when they want, with no regards or concern to the soon-to-be grandparents nervously pacing the floors.

The waiting started on Thanksgiving Day when my daughter and son-in-law said they had a hostess gift for me. In some families that would be an expected social gesture at a big holiday dinner, but we’re a casual family more likely to have a meal on paper plates than fine china, so this was unusual. However, I’m not one to turn down a fancy wrapped gift, so I tore open the wrapping, revealing a picture frame that said, “Love at First Sight.” I admit, it took me a few seconds to realize I was looking at an ultrasound of my first grandchild! Once that realization hit me, I went a little crazy jumping up and down and shrieking sounds of sheer joy and happiness. I have no memory of turkey or pies that day, only the blurry, gray image of my new love.

They waited until the three month mark to tell me about the pregnancy for two reasons: they knew I would take it hard if anything happened, and they also know I like immediate gratification. Nine months is a long time to wait! The 6 months between Thanksgiving and today did crawl by, but I entertained myself by painting the walls of the nursery at their house and watching while my other daughter painted an amazing mural on the nursery wall, shopping for way too many baby clothes and paraphernalia and setting up a small nursery at my home. My daughter and I researched cloth diapering and baby wearing devices, tried out strollers and baby joggers.

Like a child on a long car trip I incessantly asked my daughter, “How much longer?”  In an effort to stop my questions, my daughter set me up for notifications on The Bump, which kept me informed of the baby’s approximate size and development. She may have regretted her decision when she realized the questions were merely replaced by my enthusiastic alerts, “Can you believe the baby is the size of a squash?” and “Look, he can hear now!”

My husband was equally enthralled, and we spent several Friday night dates perusing the baby department at Target and excitedly evaluating all our potential purchases. In our quest to be prepared, we attended a grandparenting class. It served to make us nervous wrecks but did spur us on to active preparation for being grandparents. Part of our preparation was the Tdap vaccination to help protect put grandchild from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Because of my dread of all medical procedures and especially anything involving needles, this doctor’s appointment was an “event” complete with pictures, Facebook postings and the promise of ice cream at the end. My determination to do what’s right for the baby helped me get past my needle phobia and it was honestly pain free.

During the last six months, I became so much more interested in my friends’ Facebook posts about their grandchildren, lingering on the words and pictures of their little ones. I always loved every post about grandbabies, but now they all took on a new meaning: I was going to be part of their exclusive club! I also became a little too obsessed with some of my daughter’s friends’ social media posts about their babies and “liked,” “loved” and commented to the point that I probably frightened a few of them.  I got so carried away with one of her friend’s exceptionally cute, expressive baby that I probably caused her concern.  (Don’t worry Jackie, I’ll soon have my own grandbaby so I can quit Facebook stalking yours… maybe).

I have heard over and over how much I am going to love this new stage, that it is a love I can’t even imagine and so much more fun than parenting. I am ready. The hours in the waiting room are dragging by (on hour 20 now), and the song Anticipation is running through my head again; “anticipation, it’s making me wait, it’s keeping me waiting.” I have a feeling this baby is going to be worth the wait, way more than Heinz ketchup!

Update: After 22 hours of labor, Callister was born Tuesday, June 13th. I am officially a grandparent, falling in love at first sight with the eight pounds of perfection that is my grandson! He was worth every minute of anticipation! Please follow my new blog Grand Life as I embark on the adventures of grandparenting!

Categories: Grand Life