Barbara Parent: The Love of A Grandmother

By Barbara Parent

Twenty-five years ago yesterday, March 13 and the monumental event that led the way in the ensuing years to another five monumental events in her life, and yet it went unnoticed.

Slipped this grandmother’s mind?

Her brother would say, “What gives with that?” And she would, as if trapped in a Kingston Trio song, like Tom Dooley hang down her head and cry.

She will not allow herself to be absolved of this blunder.

She will not make excuses when she calls him today to tell him of the love and pride she has for him on this his milestone birthday and has had since the day he was born.

This she should have conveyed 24 hours before.

That the “Happy Birthday to a dear grandson” card signed with love and hugs, kisses and the substantial check was mailed in plenty of time to reach his New Jersey home by the 13th will do little to ease her guilt.

And well it should not.

How do those who have experienced the birth of their first grandchild describe to those patiently waiting in the first-time holding pattern?

A friend who had passed into first-time grandmother status attempted to explain it all to her and yet her friend admitted she wouldn’t know where to begin.

Twenty-five years ago yesterday she told her friend she could have started with the tiny mouth. Those two darling pale pink lips that pucker as if to cry and as swiftly as a hummingbird flits from a blossom, open as if to smile.

The cheeks, oh, yes, how soft his full cheeks feel as her fingertips brush them ever so gently and her lips brush each ever so lightly.

His breath is as fine as gossamer as he snuggles his face into her neck and his eyelids slip ever so slowly into sleep.

From the moment he is placed in her arms if there were a job  description connected with her long-awaited position of grandmother it is blurred with emotion.

It creeps up as she folds his cotton kimonos and terry cloth onesies warm from the dryer exuding the aroma of baby.

During their private moments together his deep blue eyes look into hers and they bond in the unspoken language of grandmother and grandchild. Oh the adventures that lie ahead.The wonder that is this child who she will watch navigate the often uncertain route from childhood to manhood.

From his first word and first steps, his first day of kindergarten through primary, middle and secondary schooling, four years of undergrad followed by post grad years, the student loans and 11-hour clinicals culminating with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Matthew Joseph Carpenter. The first of my six grandchildren. I was but a novice when he held out his tiny hand and brought me back into the Hundred Acre Wood.

My eyes will tear, when in May he receives that final step onto life’s chosen path.


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