Our 29-year-old daughter, Liz, asked if she and her husband, Brian, could come over on a Wednesday night in early April. Sure, I said; they lived only thirty minutes away.
But my husband Jim and I were surprised that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to trek across the city during rush hour to our house on a week night. And as they came through the door that night they both had very serious looks on their faces. Great, I thought, always prepared for the worst (am I my Mother?) What now? Someone’s sick? Who lost their job? Are they moving hundreds of miles away (my biggest fear)?
Liz and Brian pulled out chairs at our dining room table. No one sits there except for formal dining occasions, like Thanksgiving, and it was April, not November, so I really steeled myself for bad news.
Liz took out a stack of magazines from her work bag. I had a few long stays in the hospital a few months back and my daughter had been my regular supplier of fresh magazines to keep me entertained. We had similar tastes including a particular passion for glossy house and design magazines so we could study up on truly important trends in paint colors, furniture and renovations.
One bright spot while I was in the hospital came while leafing through a Liz-provided magazine and I flipped to a page with a turned-down corner – it was a full page photo of an artfully-designed baby’s room. Could it be that this was her subtle (Liz can be clever that way) method of telling me that she and Brian were thinking of having a baby? They had been married for less than two years so I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
But maybe my being in the hospital for so long had motivated them to get on the baby track sooner rather than later? No pressure from me, hah. I had been trying very hard to stop inserting words like pregnancy and baby into every sentence I spoke to her. And to stop emailing her “helpful” articles about prenatal nutrition and the best nursery schools in her neighborhood. Spending weeks in a hospital bed had given me too much free time to anticipate grandmother status, particularly because my own Mom had not lived to see my kids. Not that I was going to load any guilt on to Liz about having a baby sooner rather than later, of course!
When I asked Liz (as casually as I could) about the photo in the magazine of the baby’s room, she told me,
“Sorry, Mom, I was interested in that page because of the photo of the beautiful rug, considering it for our new house – not because of the crib or baby stuff.”
Sigh. So on that Wednesday night in April, I was surprised when Liz took the same magazine out of her bag and handed it to me across the dining room table.
“Liz, I already read that issue when I was in the hospital. Remember?”
“Mom, I think you left something inside of the magazine. Shake it.”
I did as she asked, my stomach still in a knot anticipating, as always, the delivery of unpleasant news.
Out fell a grainy, black and white piece of paper containing an image with Liz’s full name in print at the top. When my eyes came into focus, I realized it was a sonogram picture. But why was Liz giving me an old copy of a sonogram showing when she was a baby?
Talk about clueless.
Then I saw the date. April 12, 2013. Wait, so that meant – I had to stop and think; this was a sonogram of a baby inside of Liz – and not an image of the baby that had been Liz inside of me.
I burst into tears, of course. Liz and Brian grinned ear to ear. (Their serious faces were meant to put us off. Nice job.) My husband, also a bit late to the program, took the sonogram image out of my hands, after seeing my stunned face and started to laugh.
“See, it’s not bad news. It’s wonderful news!” he reassured me.
Hugs all around.
Immediately I was checking my mental calendar. I had about 6 months to think about whether the new baby would call me Nana or Grandma. Something good to worry about for a change!
*Our new grandson was born in September, 2013, baby and Mom both happy and healthy. I am now focused on trying not to pester my daughter too much about the timing of baby #2.
Read more from Nancy Wolf on her blog, Witty, Worried and Wolf