This Life...

Great Expectations

2011 is almost over and it was an exciting and fascinating year for me, but Son and DIL brought the best news to us this holiday season. We’re going to be grandparents.

Now, I’ve always maintained that whether or not they chose to make us grandparents was something I wasn’t going to be pushy about. They’ve been married almost ten years and both Son and DIL are very career-oriented. Both are highly successful in their chosen fields. Their life is full of adventure and friends and joy in one another. Nothing has ever seemed to be “missing” to me. They’ve talked about children, and in their typical fashion, discussed and dissected the pros and cons of adding to their family.

In all those conversations, I’ve remained pretty reticent–always maintaining that when two people decide to have a child, it needs to be because it’s what they want more than anything in the world, not because they feel an obligation to parents or anyone else. If they’d chosen to remain childless, that was fine; if they eventually decided to have a child, that was good too.

I’d gotten pretty comfortable with the idea that we might not ever begrandparents, and I was okay with it. We had Lily, our grand-dog and our own lives full of fun. I’ve even watched my friends with their grandkids without a single pang of envy. But, to my surprise, when they announced the summer arrival of our new little Reinhardt, my heart swelled nearly to bursting and I was filled with inexpressible joy.

Before they arrived for their holiday visit, I went into my closet and found my “Son” box–filled with items I’d saved with the idea that one day, Son might enjoy having them for his child. The dusty box was tucked away in a corner of the closet shelf and hadn’t been opened in nearly thirty years. And yes, when I went through the tiny garments, knitted blankets, and baby toys, I got choked up. I’m the incurable romantic, remember? Not just about the mushy love stuff, about everything.

I picked out two little stretchy sleepers, two bitty sweaters, the tiny t-shirt and shorts (with his dad’s alma mater emblazoned on them) that Son had worn home from the hospital when he was born, and two hand-knit blankets. They all went through the washing machine again and now look practically brand new. I wrapped them up in two big boxes and put them under the tree for Christmas morning. When Son and DIL opened the boxes, they were as touched as they were surprised that I had kept these things for such a long time.

The baby news has of course had us talking about all the memories from Son’s own growing up, and I’ve been sharing endless stories with DIL about him as a baby and a little boy. She’s graciously walking down memory lane with me and I hope enjoying hearing about her husband as a child. Interestingly, Son told us today, “When I was a kid, although I loved going to the lake, I didn’t understand that part of the joy for Dad was sharing something special from his childhood with me. Dad went to the lake as a kid and then you guys took me so I could have that experience, and now, I’m so glad you have your lake place, so I can share that with my child, too.”

Son gets it. I love that he’s so excited to share his childhood with their baby–that means we did okay. He has good memories.  More, it means he’ll be a great dad and DIL is going to rock as a mom. Husband is going to be a wonderful “Pops.” And then of course, there’s “Nonna”–the totally hot grandma…


  • Carol

    How exciting for you and your family, Nan. You will be a wonderful “Noona.” Eldest son & DIL married for 13 yrs, very career oriented too, sounds just like your son and DIL. Maybe this coming year. They are ready and will be wonderful parents. As a grand-mother of 8 weeks, it really is the best. You & DH will absolutely love holding your grandchild for the first time.

  • robena grant

    I think you did more than “okay”.
    You were a wise lady to not put pressure on your son and his wife. Those decisions are lifelong and can’t be hurried. But I’m excited for you that you will have a grandchild and that you saved all of those wonderful things to share. I have a box of treasures but am still not sure that it will ever be passed on. : )