by Ed Forry
I learned from your parents some months ago that you were on the way. The news came at dinner with them, as I offered to pour a glass of wine for your mom. At first she said yes, then hesitated, and declined. That was unusual because she and your dad often enjoyed wine with their meals, and I had just become a fan of Malbec, a red wine from Argentina, and wanted her to try it.
They realized I was puzzled, and quickly decided it was okay to let me in on their just-learned secret: your mom was pregnant, and you were on the way. Soon you would join your brothers John and Conor, and make me a granddad for the third time!
That was seven months ago, way back before Christmas, and now in these early days of the summer of 2010, we await in great expectation for your arrival.
Your mom has told me you’re a girl, and your brothers are quite excited to welcome you to the family. I am thrilled to know that I will soon have a granddaughter to help fill my days with an additional measure of joy.
The early news was that you would be born in mid- July, but as you have grown in size, length and strength inside your mom, we came to believe you’d come early. For awhile I wondered if perhaps you would choose June 26- for that was my own mom’s birthday, and the symmetry would have been terrific. But that day has passed, and July is just a few hours ahead. So now I’m thinking, a July 4th baby, how sweet that would be!
But all in due time- you will arrive when it’s time, and as my own mum, your paternal great grandma would pray: your mom will have a safe delivery, and you will be a healthy baby, with the help of God.
Your birth comes at a wondrous time in the life of your grandfather, for after my six and a half decades I have learned one of life’s great lessons, to be grateful for all the good things in my life. Your grandma Mary and I had a 36 year marriage, blessed with two fine, healthy, caring children- one of them your dad, a guy you soon will meet, and an aunt “Dee,” who precedes you by thirty years in a sweeping ancestral arc of nurturing women that reaches back to 19th century emigrants from Ireland.
And your mom, who in every way is a full loving partner with your dad, herself comes from a proud and loving ancestry rooted in Haiti. There are some wondrous moments ahead for you as you come to know her mother’s mom- your great grandmother- who is now 96 years of age, and lives just a few miles away.
Even as your day of birth nears, I do not know what- or who- you will look like. Will your hair be red, like mine once was? Will you have brown eyes, like your late grandmother? I don’t even know what your name will be, but I know this- your birth is awaited with great and loving anticipation by a lot of people, most of all by me, your soon-to-be Pappa. You will be born into a warm and caring family tradition, and you will be very welcome.
John Denver wrote a song, “For Baby” with lyrics that help express how I feel today:
“I’ll walk in the rain by your side,
I’ll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand.
I’ll do anything to help you understand,
And I’ll love you more than anybody can.
And the wind will whisper your name to me,
Little birds will sing along in time.
Leaves will bow down when you walk by.
And morning bells will chime.”