“I’ve finally made it!” I exclaimed to my writer’s group. After eight months of missing our monthly meetings due to the craziest of crazy incidents popping up, the evil spell had been broken. Don’t get me wrong. Being with my grandmother as she passed was an absolutely excused absence one month. A tree falling on our garage another. A mad dash to Falcon Lake, TX to pick up my in-laws travel trailer another–no, we didn’t run into pirates, but could have easily– and the unbelievable list went on. My eyes had to have been like Roman candle fireballs of excitement as I regrouped with this amazing cheerleading writers from U-Can-Do-It University. My day had been made–or so I thought.
After the meeting I tumbled into the pickup, a fountain of bubbling ideas, new things learned, and friendships rekindled. Cliff smiled and didn’t even try to attempt plugging the hole in the verbal dam that burst into the air. As we buzzed through the streets of downtown Wichita, a mini-van with a zoned out dad driving, pulled up next to us at the stoplight. In the back two bench seats were three car seats filled with screaming kids. Six month old twins and one around two-ish. Of course, a Mustang pompously zipped past and flicked its spoiler in the air of the Mini-van Dad’s path.
“Bud, it will get better,” Cliff chuckled. “Poor guy.”
Cliff had been in those shoes. One fateful night he stood ankle-deep in a ditch, torrential rain pelting him as he begged our four-year old daughter to please unlock the borrowed car’s door. After changing the second flat tire of the trip, he wasn’t in the best frame of mind as he made this 2 1/2 hour trek one way to pick up his brother from the hospital solo. Since car seats were optional at that time, both of the natives were free to roam the car, therefore hitting the electic locks. Our two-year old succeeded in gluing her eye shut with gum and wetting her new Cabbage Patch panties. By the time he got to the hospital, it’s a miracle they didn’t take him straight to the psyche ward. But he survived….plus many other times, including buying tampons for an entire college volleyball team-solo. Now, that’s a dad!
We wave encouragement and head to the little place we had agreed to meet both now adult daughters and a son-in-law for supper. Later other friends would be meeting us for a rare get-together.
It’s kind of dark and Cliff and I shared our readers to order appetizers. We give Casey her birthday gifts and the talk jumps to Karsten and Robin wanting some home improvement advice, ‘because when you’re going to have a baby…..”
My nacho stopped in mid-flight. Did they just say baby? Like the one they have been praying and waiting for years? I shoot a look at Cliff across the table. Both sets of our eyes immediately fill with tears–as well as Casey who walked in the place the birthday girl, but is leaving with a title. Aunt.
And the tears kept coming as we grabbed napkins to stop the flood. “Now, you can’t tell anyone.” What? You have given us news that should be sky-written, tweeted, shouted from mountain-tops and the headline of all news media being transmitted to other galaxies. Let alone, Galen and Richelle who will be coming in the door any minute. We aren’t that great of actors, let alone with these friends.
But, I can’t quit the tears as we pelt Robin with pregnant mom questions: “Due, when?”, “Have you been sick?” “Are you going to find out what it is?” But, Karsten interests me more. His eyes are a mix of indescribable pride/ joy and sheer terror. Suddenly the guy at the end of the table morphs into Cliff 29 years prior . Yes, I remembered. So many questions to be answered. Like how to provide for his family, is he going to be a good dad, and what about diaper smells? Although Karsten couldn’t see them, they circled his head crazily like drunk fire-flies, while he grinned a smile that rivaled the one when he watched my daughter walk down the aisle.
And I kept crying for 3 days straight. “Our little Robin is building her nest,” I mused to a chorus of groans. For the first time in 30 years the urge to knit has infiltrated my fingers, the sewing machine revs and I keep adorable finding things I have pick up. When all the cute Easter clothes hit the stores, I thanked God above Bugaboo is going to be a surprize or we’d be broke.
As if we couldn’t fall in love more, the soft swish, swish, thud, thud strongly pounded through a little speaker. In Morse Code Bugaboo tapped out “I love you, Grandmam.” (Like you wouldn’t have gone to mush, too.)
So as mid-September nears we take every advantage to see this family as it grows and kicks. It reminds us of how God’s blessed way past we could have ever imagined. Even if Robin is six-months of miserable, covered in poison ivy while sweating as recreation leader for Vacation Bible School this week, and we can’t do a thing to help her. (I’ve suggested the name “Ivy” to go with their last name “Burns’, but don’t think it’s being considered.) And Bugaboo is commencing to kick the itch out of her.
Last night Casey and I went to the Rosary of a friend, whose unexpected death, was like a staunch kick in the stomach. A new grandpa to new little ones. The unimaginable has hit this family.
But when the service ended and the family came up the aisle, a young mama was leading the group with a pudgy blue-eyed sweetheart in a pink sundress. As the family made one of the hardest walks they would probably ever walk in their life, all eyes followed that wee one. One foot in front of the other. One step at a time. The other baby brought up the rear. The blessing of hope wrapped this family in its arms. Later, it was shared that the two Bugabooes and an avalanche of prayer is what was getting them through.
I’m learning that is why grandparents turn into the biggest nutcases around. They remember. From experience they can’t afford to let a precious chance of hope flutter off.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me. O’ God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18