“Mom, I’ve never been so happy!” Those are words every parent would love to hear from their child. Fortunately those were the very words spoken to me by my oldest son two days after his wife gave birth to their first child. My first grandson. After nine months of waiting and hours upon hours of contractions the little one had finally arrived. (Well maybe not so little since he was well over 8 pounds and 21 inches long.) Looking at the pictures of the three of them taken shortly after his birth there was no doubt for my son and daughter-in-law that it was definitely love at first sight.
As for me, my youngest son and his family we couldn’t wait to see the new addition to the family. But I still had a week before I could fly down and see him. (The longest week EVER!)
Throughout the entire pregnancy, we were all so excited but in the back of my mind I felt like a little something was missing. Time and again I would think of my late husband and how proud he would have been to know that he was about to be a “Pop-Pop” again. Our granddaughter had been the apple of his eye and I knew a grandson would just be the icing on the cake for him. He’d be walking around his office with his chest out showing everyone the picture from the ultra-sound. And during the gender reveal and baby shower parties he would have introduced himself to each and every person as he topped off their glass saying “I’m the Pop-Pop!” But he wasn’t here anymore and life had to go on.
Less than a week before their due date my son and daughter-in-law went to their weekly doctor appointment where basically they were told it didn’t look like the baby was planning on coming out anytime soon. I could just picture him being super comfy in his mother’s womb. Just sitting back, relaxing and watching Netflix. But the very next night the happy couple found themselves in the delivery room. And the family up here in New York had their phones glued to their hands (more so than usual).
Early the next morning I woke up restless and went into the room where I do my morning prayers. As I was finishing up my son called to let me know there wasn’t much happening but that they were trying to make my daughter-in-law as comfortable as possible. As I hung up my phone my alarm went off. It was a reminder that it was my stepdaughter’s birthday. My husband’s daughter, his baby, was turning 16 years old that day. She meant the world to him. And as much as we all loved and still grieved for him it was nothing compared to what she had been feeling for the past few years.
What a gift it would be for the family and especially my stepdaughter to have the first grandson born on her special birthday. I looked up at my husband’s smiling picture and I knew. Somehow I knew that before the day was out our grandson would be born.
“Please be with them”, I said to his picture. A sense of peace came over me and throughout the day I prayed for my daughter-in-law’s comfort and my son’s composure. Then at about 9:30 that night my son called to say that his son had been born about 20 minutes beforehand.
Although he was still not actually due for several days I believe it was no accident that my grandson was born the same day as my late husband’s “baby’s” 16th birthday. It was like a birthday gift for us all.
From the first moment I was able to hold my grandson in my arms I felt an overwhelming peace, comfort and a sense of knowing. It was like I had seen him before. I even heard myself saying to him “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.” For the first time in a while I felt such hope for me, my family and possibly the world. This child was a gift. Not just for us but for many.
I remember as a child my grandmother saying how babies were a gift from Heaven. And that they spent time with the angels choosing their parents before swooping down to earth.
Looking into my grandson’s surprisingly alert eyes I saw an old soul staring back at me. I knew that he had been Heaven sent. And I couldn’t help but wonder. Did he see “Pop-Pop” before arriving here on earth? And is that twinkle in his eye Pop-Pop winking back at me saying “Don’t worry, baby, I’ve been here the whole time”.