Mom, Did You Know…?

Did you know I’m a grandmother now? Our precious Ashley and her wonderful husband Chris initiated us into that club Monday morning. They presented us with the most beautiful baby girl we’ve ever seen.

One of my friends, and yours, told me, “Now you know how your mother felt when you had Ashley!” I hadn’t thought about that. But she’s so right. I guess I never really understood.

Until now. Until I saw her little face; looked into her beautiful blue eyes; and held her in my arms. At that moment I saw pure love. And I saw your eyes in hers, just like you probably saw your own mother’s eyes in Ashley’s when you first held her.

Mom, I really, really wish you could be here. Even for just a couple of minutes. I wish you could see your great-granddaughter. I wish you could hold her in your arms. Because I know how much you loved your granddaughter, and I know how very much you would love your new great-granddaughter.

There have been so many times I’ve started to pick up my phone and call you, just to tell you what little Rachel is doing. How cute and adorable she is. How much Ashley loves her new baby daughter, and what a wonderful mom she is already. How it’s already second nature for her to take care of her. She’s enjoying every minute. The love on her face when she holds her and snuggles with her…I just want to cry.

I wish you could be here to see Chris, Ashley’s husband, and how wonderful and loving a dad he already is. He’s changing diapers; he’s feeding her; holding her; loving her and just talking to her all the time. I know how happy you’d be. Because I am, too.

And then there’s the new grandpa. I’m sure you remember how excited Ben was when we had Ashley. How much he loved her, and how he would do anything he possibly could for her. Well he’s already the same way with little Rachel, and she’s only three days old. The look of love on his face when he holds her is beyond anything I could imagine. She has him wrapped around all of her fingers…and toes!

The only thing missing is you.

I wish you were here so I could share my thoughts and feelings with you, and ask questions. Because I don’t know how to be a grandmother, but I guess it’s something that comes naturally. I know how nervous I was as a new mother, and how you told me I’d be a great mother. That I’d learn very quickly what to do. And you were there to help me that first week every step of the way. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. You were such a natural at being a grandmother, like you’d been preparing for it all your life. And I guess in a way, you had been.

And now I’m getting ready to do the same thing with my daughter. And Mom, I’m not really sure I know what to do, but I’m going to remember what you did.
Because you were the best mother in the world to me, and the best grandmother to Ashley that she could ever have had. I only hope I can be half that good.

And now that I’m a grandmother, that makes you a great-grandmother.

And you are just that. A wonderful, as well as a great, grandmother. And I still miss you every day. But I believe in my heart, and in my spirit, that you know what’s going on. I believe you and my father both have been given the gift of being able to see a little of what’s going on in our lives during this wonderful, precious time. And I can feel you both smiling down on us all, happy as you can be, on our new family.

But I still miss you. And I always will. Thank you for all you did for me, and for Ashley. And thank you for letting us give your name to our new granddaughter.

I love you, Mom. And we’ll all continue to make you proud of us.

Another Rachel…

I didn’t really think I could be this excited. But I am. And I can’t help it.

A few weeks ago a friend commented on my blog post about the empty chair at the Thanksgiving table, that next year that empty chair will be filled with a part of my mother. How prophetically true that statement was, because, even though I’ve known in my heart almost from the day we found out about Ashley and Chris expecting a baby that it would be a girl, it was confirmed ten days ago.

Ashley had asked the doctors’ office to call me to tell me the sex, because she and Chris wanted to be together to find out in some kind of gender reveal event. I very seldom ever answer my cell phone if I don’t know who is calling, and when the call came in, I almost let it go into voice mail. But I thought it was a call from a doctor’s office to confirm an appointment, so I answered. It was a doctor’s office, but not the one I thought. I remember her telling me she had Ashley’s results and was I ready to get them?

Oh my gosh, she was calling two days early! Was I ready…I’d been ready since we found out there was a grandbaby coming! I held my breath…..and then I heard her say the chromosomes came out X…and X, which meant a girl! The stork is bringing us a girl! And this ornament is now proudly hanging on our Christmas tree!2015-12-06 11.08.55

I cannot even begin to express how I felt. I remembered how I felt when I found out Ben and I were going to have a little girl, and I was so excited to tell the world! I called Ben first, of course, and told him, and then I called my mother, who was almost more overjoyed than I was, if that was possible! Another little girl in her life to make clothes for, and buy little ruffled dresses for (which of course Ashley really didn’t want to wear, and let us know as soon as she could express herself)! A little girl she could play school with, and teach to cook…my mother was over the top excited, especially since she’d waited so long for her only child to have her own child! She was so excited, and since her friends knew how much this grandchild meant to her, they even gave her a surprise grandmother’s shower!

Since Chris was out of town on a tugboat in the Chesapeake Bay, we had to wait until he came back to do the reveal. I have to say this has been the hardest secret to keep that I’ve ever been entrusted with. Because I couldn’t tell anyone except my friend who made their wedding cake, since she was making a gender reveal cake for them, and of course the salesperson at the party store who put together the gender reveal balloon. But that really doesn’t count, because I couldn’t tell my husband, or my best friends, or even Chris’ mom who is also becoming a grandmother at the same time I am!

(Chris did tell me I could tell my cats, so all three of them knew as well, but since they’re cats and it doesn’t directly affect them, well, they really didn’t seem to care all that much!)

For the last ten days, everywhere I’ve gone I’ve seen people with babies. They seem to be everywhere. They also seem to be all girl babies, even though I know that’s not true. And I just keep thinking…oh my gosh, we are going to have one of those! Even shopping last Saturday for a few little gifts for the gender reveal, it hit me as I stood in line behind this lady buying a pile of fancy little girl clothes…Ashley and I are going to be doing that soon! I wanted to buy a little Christmas outfit so badly for her for next year, but I have no idea what size she’ll be by then…. With my luck it wouldn’t fit!

Now that I know what we’re having, it’s more real. I can call her by her name, instead of saying “the baby”. It’s so much easier to think of her now as a real little person. And yes, I would be thrilled whether we were getting a boy or a girl.

But there’s a very special reason I’m doubly excited about having a granddaughter.

Because Ashley and Chris are naming her Rachel, after my mother. AshBouquet Charmley and my mom always had a very special bond; perhaps it was because she was the long-awaited and ONLY granddaughter; perhaps it was because of how much my mother loved children. Or maybe it was because when your only child has a child of her own, it’s a feeling that nothing else can compare to. Ben and I gave Ashley my mother’s name as her middle name, and now the legacy of Rachel is being carried on for another generation. My mother would be so excited….but then again, she and my dad already know all about her….

To my friend who made that statement about the empty chair being filled with a part of my mother next year, you were totally right! In a way you didn’t even imagine!

And we all cannot wait until we meet little Rachel in May! We love her already!

I Really Miss You, Mom

This was actually written on November 16….. However, it is so totally true……

There are some times I miss you more than others, Mom. Today was one of those days.

Even though you’re no longer here, I truly believe you know that your granddaughter Ashley and her long-time boyfriend Chris were married a little over six months ago. I wish you could’ve met him. I know you’d love him as much as we all do. They’re absolutely perfect for each other. They have the same temperament. The same likes and dislikes. They balance each other.

I knew from the first few dates they had, that they’d end up together permanently. There really wasn’t any doubt.

Although some may think I’m a bit crazy, I believe you and Daddy, and the rest of our family who are with you in heaven, were given the gift of seeing their wedding. There were times that day I felt your presence so strongly….like you were there giving them your blessing, as you squeezed my dad’s hand and told him how proud you were of your granddaughter…how much you loved her. Did you see the charm on her bouquet? With that picture of you and her in your kitchen…with her sunburned face as she smiled at you? That’s one of her favorite pictures of the two of you.Bouquet Charm

Today was a special day, and one that I would have so loved to have shared with you. I’m sure you already know that our baby, your granddaughter, and my daughter, is having a baby of her own. I’m sure you knew it before I did, and probably before Ashley and Chris did. In fact, as Ashley said earlier, you already know whether it’s a boy or a girl. And you’re not telling us, either.

A few weeks ago Ben and I were able to join Ashley and Chris as we saw the first ultrasound of our grandchild. That was an awesome moment. Watching the two of them as they saw the first glimpse of that new life they created…I cannot even begin to express my thoughts. Ben and I were both a bit teary eyed. Ashley and Chris were just amazed. It was still a bit hard to believe.

But today. A month later, it was so different. It was just Ashley and me in that ultrasound room. Chris was at work, and so was Ben. I watched as the technician moved that wand around on my daughter’s belly, and that little darling grandchild of ours…your great-grandchild…was there just lounging around. Once in a while the legs would kick, or the arms would wave. This time, that little baby who’s only an inch and a half long, was clearly visible as a baby. A new life…not just a collection of cells, but a little person coming into being.
Ultrasound
I so would have loved to tell you how I felt…to share that moment with you. I wanted the three of us…three generations…to be involved. I wondered how you’d felt when you found out I was having a baby. How you felt knowing your baby was having a baby of her own. Because that’s all I could think about. My baby that I carried for nine months was now carrying a baby of her own.

Jeremiah 1:5 tells us “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” The Lord already knows all about this little person. What he or she will look like. What he or she will do with their life. And I believe the Lord has already filled you in, Mom, on all of it. And you and Daddy are even more excited about all that your first great grandchild will be. And you’re excited for all of us as well!

Yes, today was one of those days I have missed you more than I can even express, because there are just those times that I need my mom to talk to and share special moments with.

Mom, even though I can’t tell you in person, I just want you to know how excited I am. I think I can finally almost imagine how you felt when Ben and I told you that you were finally going to be a grandmother.

I just wish I could share it all with you in person. I love you, Mom. And I miss you…

November 16, 2015