Did I tell you? Have I showed you the pictures yet?
I haven’t? Hang on, they’re right here on my phone.
I have? Have you seen the new ones? I have new ones…
On Dec 21, 2017, at oh-my-gracious-really? in the morning, Baby C arrived in the wide world. My boy D and his darling wife (who’s another B, just to confuse things) are now parents. Which makes My Sweetie and me GRANDparents! Woot-woot!
D&B live in North Carolina: most unfortunately not an easy hop from the ATX. So we took MLK weekend as our first chance to meet Baby C in person.
It was as fizzy-lifting as I thought it might be. I took exactly two pictures of My Sweetie with Baby C all weekend because (a) I was looking at Baby C (b) I was holding Baby C. In addition to holding, we also walked, and sat. We did walk in a variety of locations, and sit in restaurants as well as at home — D&B maneuver like seasoned baby-pros after only three weeks of practice. But mostly we were together, the important part. Mostly I stood, arms full of Baby C, and swayed. It was perfect.
Monday I saw a bunch of friends for the first time since the beginning of December. Since pre-Baby C, that is. At least half the crew are blooded grandparents, so even before Baby C was born I’d been primed. Even still, I wasn’t ready for one of their questions: “Did you have any surprising reactions? Hormonal, or anything?”
…I had to pause. Which isn’t like me. I would have thought I’d’ve paused on the plane, or during any of the seven days I’ve now been away. Me, miss an opportunity for meta-analysis? Yep. I did.
All I’ve done since I left is miss Baby C. Think wistfully of the knot in the top of my left shoulder from cradling him. Dream of him so vividly I wake with the feel of his soft head on my lips and his baby-smell in my nose.
I wasn’t prepared for that.
I wasn’t prepared for the uncomplicated happiness, either. For starters, I’m a complicated-happiness person. Always have been; who sings poems with doom in them at age six? And humans are complex, wonderfully so, which makes the emotions around, through and with them complex. Right? But that’s not what shines out from my heart through my face when I think of Baby C. I’m simply delighted. Emphasis on the “light.”
I’ve only been a grandparent for three weeks, and only gotten to be with-with him for three and a half days. But still, the love feels simpler than how I love any of the other people I treasure.
It’s… it’s… it’s as if my whole self-I-know, and the parent-persona+skillz I’ve paired with it, are pulled back. Shells, sort of, but they can’t be, and they’re not really. They’re still right there. But the center is a glowing core of love and happiness, untouched by those other things. I can’t help but smile, and smile, and smile some more.
I have a knowing of unconditional love. I have love that will not let me go, love that dragged me across broken glass and rock, love that left me breathless and dry with weeping. And still I loved, and knew I could never stop that love even if I ever chose not to interact with that beloved. When I read the Bible’s images of being made pure like silver or gold, I think of that love. Because pure metal is incinerated metal. That’s true love.
And, but, still:
now I know a different feel of love. Same enough, but really different. I think I will claim reticence as wisdom for now, but I’m glad I’ve paused. I can tell I’ll be visiting this topic again.
*Lola, by the way, is “Grandma” in Tagalog. My Sweetie is called Lolo. It’s handy to bypass all the grand-name slicing and dicing by jumping back to our Filipino roots.