Some of you know me, most of you don't. Those who do, know that my husband (Dave) and I are childless by choice. We have been married since high school and I am now 56. I can honestly say that we have never regretted that decision for one minute. We still don't.
However, on August 20th, 2011 something happened to change my world. Our friends (and next door neighbors) had a son. His name is Gideon. The first time I saw him, I fell in love. So completely, unconditionally in love that I felt my heart break a little bit with the enormity of it.
I have always liked babies. We did not decide not to have children because we don't like them. We just did not want children as a constant in our lives. This time around, it was just about Dave and I. But, I did hold and play with other peoples babies and children.
As we got into our 30's and then our 40's the children of our peers grew up. It did not hit me that there was not going to be an endless stream of babies available in my life. Then, I was 50 and all of a sudden I realized that I would not get so many opportunities to hold an infant again; watch a child grow.
Shon and Jen moving next door has been a blessing. We love them dearly. They are not only great friends, but great neighbors. And, as most of you probably know, great neighbors can be hard to come by. People say you can't pick your family. Well, I've got news for you. You can't pick your neighbors, either. Not unless you move. And in this economy...well...if you are lucky you have neighbors like ours.
So, Shon and Jen had a baby. They named him Gideon. As I said, I fell in love. When Shon asked if we wanted to be called Grandma and Grandpa, a whole new world opened. His other sets of grandparents live out of state. We are right here, and everyone can use as much love as they can get. Of course I said "YES!!!" I was worried at first that the "real" grandparents would be upset. Shon and Jen say they won't be, and I hope that is true for the other grandparents. I guess if they are upset, I could understand in a way. But, then I would just know that having two more people that love that boy could never be a bad thing.
Jen and I have gone to lunch a couple of times with Gideon. Afterwards, we go to Grandma's and hang out. I have babysat a few times, too. Last night, we had him here for 4 hours. I held him for the whole time, except for about 45 minutes. He was so good!
Me. This woman who loves avant garde art, odd novels and films, extreme ideas...I have been mesmerized by the tiny fingers and toes of a little boy. By the toothless grin that he now does when he sees himself in a mirror. He almost turned over last night while on the floor...and he can't even hold his head up yet! Is this normal, or is he advanced for his age? Yeah, I know. Like every parent and grandparent, I assume he is more special than normal.
Just the thought of him makes me cry. I am crying now. Funky, irreverent Caddy, offering her heart raw, on a platter to Gideon, for him to cherish or break Someday, he may no longer even like me. But, that is the beauty of love. It is not guaranteed. Because of that, when you recieve it, it is powerful and special. No matter what, I will always love him.
If anyone, EVER did something to hurt him, I would hunt them down, filet them and eat them for dinner. Take that as a warning. You don't want to mess with "my" Gideon!
Last night, I just sat and held him, staring at him the whole time, inhaling that sweet smell of baby that all too soon will be a faded memory. He held my finger for over an hour. I am going to get every baby smell, every moment that I can with this child. Because now, at 57, I understand that the precious gift of new life only enters your life a small number of times. This time, I am going to make it fully count, in case there is never a next time.