by Linda Hoye
January 2, 2009
The phone rings just before 6 a.m. as I’m throwing a Lean Cuisine into my bag and getting ready to race out the door for work. It’s my daughter, Laurinda and it’s the phone call I’ve been waiting for.
“We’re going to the hospital,” she tells me quietly when I pick up the phone.
We talk briefly and after we end our call, I do a little dance I’ve perfected over the past nine months and dubbed the “grandma dance.” Then I race upstairs to my office where I log on to my computer and search for the earliest flight that will take me from Seattle, Washington to Calgary Alberta. I don’t think twice as I enter my credit card numbers on the airline website to pay the exorbitant fee for a last-minute reservation; I wouldn’t miss being there to welcome my grandchild into the world no matter how much it cost.
Six hours later I’ve gone from a dark and rainy Pacific Northwest morning to a frigid but sunny Canadian afternoon. The hospital lobby is alive with activity and filled with the smiling faces of people carrying stuffed animals, balloons and flowers. My gaze rests on other women who appear to be near my age and I share a subtle smile with them. I feel like I’m about to become a new member of an exclusive club I’ve longed to join, and the “grandma smile” is like the secret handshake.
When I arrive on the labor and delivery floor and locate the swinging doors that lead me toward pending grandma-hood, I shove them open and confidently step into the ward. The nurse at the desk looks up and inquires if I am the mother of an expectant mother on the ward.
Can’t you tell by the crazy grin on my face? I want to ask her, but instead I just smile my goofy grandma-smile and nod.
There are windows in the swinging doors between the waiting room and the labor and delivery ward. I keep an eye on those windows and every sound from behind the doors makes me stand and look down the hall in the direction of Laurinda’s room. Finally I see her husband, Gord, striding down the hall with a smile the size of the Bow River on his face.
“It’s a girl!” he exclaims as he pushes through the doors. “And she’s beautiful!”
“Congratulations, Dad!” I throw my arms around him and offer a silent prayer of thanks while I follow him back down the hall wiping tears from my eyes.
Laurinda is sitting up in bed, smiling and crying at the same time. There is an indescribable glow about her.
“Congratulations, Mommy!” I embrace her and kiss her forehead.
Satisfied that she is okay I turn toward the baby warmer. A nurse is bustling about and Gord is videotaping. They clear a path for me to get closer to the warmer. My granddaughter, eyes wide open, is looking around as if to take in the sights of this new world she has arrived in.
I reach over and gently take her tiny hand in mine as I lean over and whisper so only she can hear. “Welcome! We’ve been waiting for you!”
Linda Hoye is a devoted and somewhat-fanatical grandma who is missing her granddaughter more than usual today. She lives in Washington state with her husband and their two doted-upon Yorkshire Terriers. Linda blogs at A Slice of Life Writing.