Some things only happen once, like becoming a grandmother for the first time. The sound of my son Gianni’s voice, telling me that Claire is in labor will forever be etched in my mind. Some things only happen once, like your favorite first born son, readying himself and Claire to have their child. As a woman, I know that Claire had the most laborious job ever. Nothing can replace the apprehension, fear, joy and love when you are carrying a child. She was probably feeling all the same things I did when I had my first born.
The sound of his voice early morning on October 8th, to tell me that Fox Bennett Risper was born at 1:02 am was like music to my ears. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 13.8 ozs. and was 21 inches long. How is one to feel when you get the same emotion as you did when you put your first born on the bus to go to school? A little body lugging a backpack, filled with knick knacks, being a pre-schooler I told him was something he would never be again. He gave me a mischievous smile, got on the bus and looked forward.
Waiting for the little bus that day weighed me down. Knowing that you will not have your child around all day to ask questions, teach or help get something out of the cabinet can really make you feel down. I remember just sitting on the couch not wanting to look at the bus until it was a tiny speck. I sat. I made it. This day would only happen once.
I wonder if my son realized that baby Fox will now be the center of attention for him and others. For some mother’s who have son’s who are having children, it could be a tad difficult. I began to wonder more about Claire, like did she ever play the reindeer in her middle school Christmas musical. Did she play an instrument? I put myself in her parents place as they cheered wildly for her at her events and accomplishments. I am blessed. I love her and emotions like that do not happen for everyone.
The next morning, I called everyone. People asked odd questions like, “How do you feel being a grandmother?” I would respond, “I am excited.” Some would say,”You do not look old enough to be a grandmother.” I would respond, “Well, I am.” After hurriedly calling everybody, I went to the Plant Professionals and ordered some flowers specifically for Claire.
Parking the vehicle, I felt as though I was on cloud nine. I kept saying, “My son is going to make a great father. I am so proud of him.”
The odd feeling that I get when I go to a hospital was creeping up on me. On this day I saw at least 4 pregnant women, 3 women with newborns and one woman breastfeeding in the lobby. I walked to the same elevators and got off at the same floor that I did when I had Gianni. Almost 25 years later, I walked down the same hallway clutching my flowers wondering what I could say. I ended up with ,”How are you doing?”
Fox was in the NICU getting some love and attention from the fabulous nurses at Sparrow Hospital. He was home two weeks later. He sure is a fighter. His parents will have plenty of stories to tell him when he gets older. Claire’s parents are fantastic people. Did I tell you how blessed I am? My son is a lucky young man.
I needed a life changing event to trust in my child. I told myself that he can do this all by himself. He and Claire created the next generation of children in my family. When Fox came home, we visited and took a photo. Of course my mother came from Georgia.
We sat in Claire and Gianni’s home, where little Fox will live, learn and achieve. It will be the place where he will be molded. No matter where the physical place is home consists of all of the houses we have lived in.
Four generations in the photo, five if my grandmother was here from St. Maarten.
I held him for a while. His eyes were open and bright. Looking at everything around us and in our eyes as if at two weeks old, he knew us.
The moment he belted out a cry, I knew what he was made of. With enthusiasm, I watched as my son held and comforted him. Claire told us he is on a feeding schedule and he was adjusting. Fox looks like both of his parents. I look forward to watching him grow into himself.
This emotional experience will only happen once with my oldest son. There was no dress rehearsal. The outcome could not have been more heartwarming.
I am a grandmother for the very first time. I cherish the thought that this only happens once.
P.S. I could not resist. Fox Bennett Risper is in the Lighting Up Lansing section on page 1.(which is now on this page)
This column was originally printed in the November 1, 2015 - November 14, 2015 edition.