His eyes rarely open. He hardly moves.
When disturbed…his head bobs up, then down…barely supported by a thin, wobbly neck. A limb might stir, like a wounded bird, otherwise, his body hangs limp.
He doesn’t smile. He doesn’t talk. He seldom acknowledges me.
Yet….I am deeply, madly, in love.
I was not one of those women who longed to be a grandmother.
I never ached, pined away, and prayed to be a grandparent. If it happened…I assumed it would probably be wonderful. I didn’t realize…until now…that it would be totally awesome, friggin’ fabulous, life-altering, spiritual, and breath-taking.
I never imagined this new being could take up so much space in my heart; that at times, there would be little room, for little else.
I never thought anything could occupy my mind and soul like the birth of Brennan Perry DaRos.
For months prior to his birth, I studied every misshapen, other-worldly, black and gray, alien-like ultrasound image from the OGBYN’s office…holding it this way and that…whispering to myself, “is that a mouth, or perhaps an arm?” “wonder if his nose will always look like that?” “is he happy…or uncomfortable and cramped in there?”
I once felt him hiccup through his Mom’s skin, and in that moment, he became real. He became human. That was the beginning of my love affair with this baby bump.
We had the blessed opportunity to share a home with the parents of the ‘bump’ from Christmas of last year until just days prior to his birth, on April 23rd. As his Mommy’s belly grew, seemed exponentially a package appeared on their doorstep…gifts of clothing from newborn to toddler, diapers of every size, a variety of toys, bottles, stuffed animals, and lots of infant paraphernalia…received from cherished friends and family…the first steps in building a community of support that would surround this little one. Brennan’s ‘village’.
We read complicated instructions, nailed and screwed together furniture that would become a bureau, changing table and bed in the nursery. We were present the first time he moved in the womb, and the first time our son felt the movement, witnessing the awe on his face and in his voice…his child, our grandchild, coming to life.
As Brennan reached the age of five weeks, we flew to Florida to meet him. (I sit here staring at the computer screen, searching for words to describe my feelings prior to walking through the front door…as I held back tears, and my breath.)
My first glimpse was him nestled in someone’s arms (can’t remember whose, as I was rigidly focused like a beam of light on this tiny creature) and was immediately overcome, flooded with emotion one cannot define.
The first time I held him…worrying before our arrival if I would remember ‘how’...(my sons are 45 and 54, it’s been a while!)…and like magic, all my mothering instincts kicked in… he and I, became one. Feeding, changing, diapering, burping was fun, pleasurable, pure bliss! Who knew? Didn’t seem so when my own children were infants…this was something new, something different, something special. Perhaps with one layer of responsibility removed, a space of pure enjoyment is created.
My anxiety revisited when first attempting to soothe him, but this too became natural, normal and second nature as Brennan and I got to know one other better.
Tomorrow he will mark eleven weeks on this earth. In that short time he has learned to breastfeed, smile, coo, and make delightful little sounds that reverberate in my heart. I am forever grateful for FaceTime and Zoom, and the receipt of photos within moments of being taken, an almost daily delight…at least some compensation for living over 1,500 miles apart.
And as is true of most things cherished, it is accompanied by concerns, and worries:
Will our current political climate impact his ability to have the trauma-free life he deserves? Will he always breathe clean air, drink uncontaminated water, swim in clear oceans? Will he be safe, sitting in his grammar school classroom? Will the persons making decisions in high places, having an immense impact on his life, be honest, trustworthy, willing to make the tough decisions for the greater good, or be immersed in their own narcissism, power and greed?
Dennis and I are in our 70’s…will we witness him graduate from high school, even 8th grade?
Many of our friends are grandparents, in some cases, great-grandparents. I know, they, too, share my angst….wanting NOTHING to ever harm, hurt or upset their bundle of sweetness…and yet I know, I cannot protect him completely from life and what will unfold.
What I do know is I can be present every day to the blessing of his birth. I can be active in making the world a safe, healthy, peaceful place. I can share the joys of grand-parenting with Dennis, ‘oohing and aahing’ at every ping of photo on our devices.
I will savor at my core the love and tenderness I witness between Jeremy and Danielle, Uncle John, and baby Brennan. I will continue to send pictures to his great-aunt, Theresa, every day…and to his cousins Melissa, Rhyen and Jaedyn….who, along with John, share with me Brennan’s middle name…my maiden name.
I will share and describe this euphoria of grand-parenting to anyone willing to tolerate one more video, photo, or heart-centered description of this little guy and his progress in life. (Thank you, dear friends, for indulging me these last few months.)
Most importantly, as his Nana, I vow to keep my worst fears at bay and laser focus on the incredible delight that Brennan truly is.