The Best Word





Sharon Hodson


 
© Copyright 2018 by Sharon Hodson


Photo of Sharon and grandchildren.

I’ve worn many hats in my almost 58 years on this earth. I’ve been a daughter and a granddaughter. I’m still a niece and a cousin. I’m a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt. I’m a friend and  a co-worker.  I’m a mom. I’m a grandmother.   

My favourite season has always been fall. Fall is beautiful and colourful. Where I live here in Edmonton, Canada, the weather in September, even October,  can be wonderfully warm. Sometimes it’s even hot (well, hot for Edmonton, Canada - in fall) in early to mid-September.

Almost 58 years old - could be considered the ‘fall’ of life, or at least late summer.  It feels like it to me - beautiful, colourful and warm. This is the story of how I came to cherish this part of my life.

I waited outside of the closed bathroom door for what seemed like an eternity.

 My son was in the living room, either not as freaked out as I was or just better at suppressing the freak.

Finally the door opened. I looked into her face and saw she was smiling. Was she relieved or happy? Then I looked down. The stick was blue. “What does that mean?” I asked. “What do you think?” was the calm reply. Oh my God! If I knew I wouldn’t ask! “Just tell me” I said. She smiled again. “You’re going to be a Grandma.”  “When am I going to be a grandma?”  She laughed then – “Likely in about 6 months”.

Holy crap. And oh my God. And WHAT! A grandma. A GRANDMA! Me?

I started thought about my own grandmothers. I had a Granny and a Grandma. Both wonderful ladies whom I miss a lot.

They both wore dresses. Only dresses. Granny always wore an apron. Grandma’s dresses went to her ankles. They both knitted and knew how to crochet.  They sewed clothes – made our pajamas when we were kids.  They made quilts. Both baked bread - from scratch.

 I am not that.  Mind you, I used to crochet but arthritis took over my hands. At this time – I didn’t bake. Except from a box – as I said ‘Betty Crocker and I baked’ or ‘The Pillsbury Dough boy’ helped me.  I've always worn jeans.  When I found out a baby was coming I owned one dress – I wore it as a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding.  What kind of a grandma am I going to be?

A room was painted. Baby things were bought - a crib, rocking chair, diapers, wipes, and a sterilizer. This was getting real.

People started asking – what is he/she going to call you? “Well,” I would always say “not Grandma”. I am not a Grandma.

So then – what? My Cree ancestors called their Grandmothers ‘Kokum’. Okay. Norwegian – ‘Farmor’ – kind of cool.  My kids had a Nana and a Grandma. I still had the last name I was born with – so I could be a Granny Hodson too. Maybe.

I pondered this lot. A lot. I sat in that little painted room with the crib and Winnie the Pooh and I thought.

Finally it was time. I went to the hospital – she was in the delivery room - I was told to wait. Not too long and my son came in. He looked excited and tired. He smiled when he saw me.

Well?’ I asked. ‘It’s a boy” he said. There was such a smile on my own boys face. A boy. A son. A grandson.

When was he born?” I asked. ‘About 5 minutes ago’. Wow. ‘You better get back in there’. I said. ‘I’ll go call the family’. I went and called my youngest son and told him he was an uncle and I called my sister. They were both coming up.

I went into the room where they all were. My grandson - Sebastian - wasn’t an hour old yet. His mom was just passing him over to his dad. I let him hold him a bit then asked ‘Can I hold him?’ Mom and dad both smiled and dad said ‘yes’. He handed me the little bundle and my life changed forever.

I sat in a chair by a window and looked down at this little man. His eyes were wide open. His finger clasped mine. I held him close to my face so he could see me. Or at least I figured he could see me.

We had a good look at one another for a long time. Finally I said ‘Hi. I’m your gramma’. Gramma. I sighed and got a little teary. I said it again. Gramma. I’m a gramma. They were going to transfer mom and baby to their room so I went downstairs, walked a bit outside then went back up. I watched mom and dad struggle a bit and couldn’t stop smiling.

Gramma.

This boy. This tiny little fellow. He taught me just how big my heart is. Have you ever wondered ‘Just how much love can one person give?’ Ask a Grandparent. The answer is ‘……..endless. It’s endless’.   

Dad took the bus home. Mom sat in the front seat while my sister drove. Neither of them – at this time  - had a drivers license. I sat in the back with Sebastian. Best ride of my life.

Mom suffered from post-partum. She didn’t want anyone else to hold him. No one. She cried uncontrollably if anyone did. It was incredibly hard to be understanding. It wasn’t her fault and I truly tried to understand.

 It passed. And I did get to hold him. And rock him. Sing to him. Tell him stories. Feed him. All the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Yes, I had my own babies. And you love those babies like nothing else. I cherish every experience I had as a mom, every stage, every age, and every antic.

Somehow the love for my grandchild transcends that. It’s bigger. It’s deeper. Stronger. Somehow it is.

Sebastian fills me with such joy. That’s the word – joy. I didn’t think it was possible to love anymore.

Then – two years later – his sister followed. Oh my. I had a granddaughter - Pennelope.  I was truly – I am – truly blessed. A beautiful granddaughter.

And – surprisingly enough – my heart had room. So much love. More joy. These two. So different and so much the same.  A bounty of pride. Life truly couldn’t get any better.

But. Surprise! A surprise for everyone. Another boy - Jullian. Now there are three.

I am beside myself with emotion. All the time. They are now – as I write this - 7, almost 5 and almost 3. The ‘almost’ is important. She’s not 4. She’s ‘almost 5.

They are a handful. Mom and dad have since split up and the grand babies come to my place every second weekend.  I spoil them with treats, with sugar, movies, and toys. Anything. Everything.

I look forward to these weekends with all of my heart. I miss them when they are not here. My heart and arms ache for them.

So. The best word? Turns out there is more than one. Gramma. Joy. Sleep-over. Read. Play. Watch. Love.

Sharon is a happy gramma living in Edmonton, Canada. She looks forward both to the weekends with her three grandchildren and the weekends without. The kids are a huge source of joy, love and pride. When they get together there is laughter and playing and reading and telling of stories. When they are not together Sharon now likes to bake. She also likes to cook and write stories. Occasionally she runs, walks the dog, watches Anthony Bordain, ‘This is Us’ and pays attention to politics both in the US and in Canada.


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