NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Grandbaby Fever Is Worth The Wait

I knew the times were changing when I heard about the bear.

“The bear’s just great,” my daughter, Patti, texted me one afternoon last March.

What bear?

“Dad’s bear — the one for the baby’s room,” she explained. “We’ll have to move the furniture around some, but I think it’s going to fit just fine.”

She attached a photo of the nursery she and her husband, Chris, were preparing for their daughter, due in a dozen weeks or so. The largest object in the scene: a looming 6-foot smiling behemoth that dwarfed the crib and rocker, dominating the space that our grandchild-to-be would occupy some three months hence.

So it had come to this. Russ’s idea of a suitable teddy bear was not some mere armful of fleece and fluff. No, not for his impending granddaughter. He’d found the true Ursa Major, the T. Rex of bears, and snatched it up for the little miracle we wouldn’t meet until May.

Significantly, he kept his plan very, very quiet from the grandmother-to-be … she who preaches moderation and practicality and has earned her rep as something of a buzzkill. He bagged his bear!

I expect that Bear has set the tone for our new granddaughter’s relationship with her doting grandpa. Nor was he alone: Elsewhere on the planet, another grandfather was simultaneously shopping for her first Disney Princess fishing rod and tackle.

This may not have been my first inkling that Russ — and, yes, I too — was not going to be the sensible, mature grandparent we’d always imagined … the kind who’d abjure the fluffy flapdoodle and focus, instead, on weightier stuff. Of course. And it’s only gotten worse. All it took was a minute in the actual presence of the cuddlesome Miss Evi to get us cooing like the best of besotted pigeons.

Little Evelyn Joanna is 4 weeks old today. She has a way to go to catch up with the furry beast, size-wise — but she looms far, far larger in our universe than we could have ever envisioned.

Both Russ and I managed to maintain a remarkable calm throughout most of our nine-month wait. All too aware of the potential pitfalls, as only an anxious first-time grandmother can be, I lay awake at night, yet shared not a word to worry the mother-to-be. But like her bear-hunting father, I needed to find a way to mark the weeks until meeting exciting addition who was in the works.

In an only slightly premature sign of grandmotherhood, I turned to my knitting. Defying all that knitters hold holy, I cast on an intricate pastel crib blanket … despite having declared myself an afghan-free zone back in 2015. That was when I finally completed that enormous coverlet for the kids in Patti’s tasteful favorite colors — a soul-killing combination of gray, mauve, more grey, inky purple and yet a third shade of the color of gloom. By the time I finally bound it off, I was near-suicidal from the endless time with that palette of despair. I swore: No more huge, numbing half-acre projects for me.

But this was different. Pink!

Evi’s afghan kept me out of trouble for long months as we waited for her debut. Despite its daintier size, its gestation took about as long as she did. But I finished it in plenty of time — the day before her baby shower, but two whole weeks before the baby. Besides a sigh of relief and the warm glow of a knitting project actually complete, that baby blanket earned me something else: A stern warning from the kids to never, ever use that kind of language in front of their forthcoming offspring.

Basically, I think we held it together pretty well until the big day, when the beautiful specimen of young womanhood was first passed to our anxious arms. Huge eyes, a shock of feathery dark hair, her mother’s dimple: Miss Evelyn was definitely worth it.

Worth Russ’s wrestling that stupid bear across the whole Hornbacher’s supermarket in a grocery cart.

Worth my knotting at least a mile of yarn as I knitted endlessly … faster and faster as Patti’s d-date approached.

Worth the hope, delight and occasional terror every potential grandparent must feel as the whole child-hatching project proceeds entirely outside their control.

We’re still settling into our new roles now, as we squabble over who gets to hold Evi next or wander dizzily through the Target universe of boppy pillows, Baby Einsteins and ultra-high-tech carseats apparently designed by the same engineers who fashioned the Apollo space capsule.

But to friends who currently address me as “Grandma”: Please cut me some slack when I’m slow to realize who you’re talking to. Even now, this perfect grandchild floats somewhere in a cloud of awe and wonder … and I still tend to miss my cues.

3 thoughts on “NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Grandbaby Fever Is Worth The Wait”

  • chuck haga June 16, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Oh, the places you’ll go, the love you’ll know.

  • Helen Murphy June 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Welcome to the wonderful world of being a grandparent. Grandchildren are cuter and smarter than our children for some reason. All grandpas spoil and it is both sweet and frustrating to watch but your relationship with your husband will be closer because you have a new love in common.

  • Carl Griffin June 17, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Congratulations Nancy and Russ!! This was the day brightener I needed.


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