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How I Found Out I Was Going to Be a Grandmother

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

Nancy Wolf

Nancy L. Wolf writes about parenting, family life, higher education and mental health from the perspective of someone who has seen it all and still has a strong sense of humor. She practiced law for 30 plus years while raising 2 now adult kids and has been married for 36 years to a wonderfully tolerant man. Now semi-retired, but hardly retiring, she helps parents of young adults with mental health challenges through and "parents of young adults who struggle" on facebook. In her spare time, Nancy is a volunteer college advisor with a in Wash DC, a group that helps low-income kids get to college and on the board of NAMI Montgomery County She relishes being the most opinionated member of her book club, sticks to advanced beginner classes in pilates and regularly cleans up after two unruly rescue terriers. And did I mention that Nancy is a new grandma? Photos of her adorable grandson are available upon request.

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Friday 5th of September 2014

Awww - that is cute! Congrats!


Friday 5th of September 2014

What a sweet story Nancy. I'm years (at least I better be) away from any of this (my son is only 15) but I pray everyday that I will still be here to not only see my grandchild (my son swears he only wants one LOL) but will be young enough to enjoy him or her.

Rena McDaniel

Thursday 4th of September 2014

My daughter and her husband had been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. She started on hormone therapy in March. In May she called the same way. I laugh when I think about it but I tried to brush her off because I was really tired. She finally said mom I really need to talk to you. This got me worried too. We were sitting on the back porch they came around the corner with a gift. I was confused. She said it's your Mother's Day gift (4 days away). She wanted me to open it. When I did nestled in the tissue paper was a pregnancy test and it said "pregnant". The best giftnI ever received. Two weeks later we found out they are having twins, one of each. They are due on Christmas Eve. We are beyond excited!

Nancy L. Wolf

Thursday 4th of September 2014

I love the Aunt Penny story!



Thursday 4th of September 2014

what a creative way to hear such exciting news. When my brother [at age 55 and with a younger wife] was about to become a first-time dad, he announced the news be leaving a message on my voice mail for "Aunt Penny." That's about as innovative as my family got. So thanks for sharing the fun you had.

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