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Meeting Sam

October 7, 2013


For anyone who has been wondering, or happens to remember my earlier posts about becoming a grandmother, yes, our first grandbaby has arrived!


Everyone says how much better it is to be grandparents because you can kiss ‘em and love ‘em and send them home and not be getting up at nights with them.

But I’m not sure how to be happy doing that when my daughter and her husband are in that new baby fog of wondering if they will ever sleep clear through a night again.

I had to leave this baby much too soon – after three days of yes, enjoying snuggling new born cheeks and adorable finger wraps – and even though I get to return to help out a little with those sleepless nights, I wish he lived five minutes away instead of five hours.

Then there are many of my grandparenting colleagues who live 1,000, 3,000 even 5,000 miles away from their grands. And while people used to live closer to their children and grandchildren, I also think of the settler and immigrant families of old who moved across the ocean and in some cases never saw their parents or grandparents again. Of course, I have lived 600-some miles from my parents all my married life and I feel like our children grew to have great love and connections with these grandparents.

So this is how it went down: While I was enjoying swans and hiking through wetlands early on the final day of my speaking commitment (made long before we knew anything about this baby!), my daughter’s labor was being induced. That evening, while I was wandering around the Indiana Michigan Mennonite Relief Sale with my mother and sister, Tanya’s labor kicked into high gear and became so intense she had to go with an epidural. Yes, I was on pins and needles. Yes, I wanted to be there with her, but I would just get there as soon as I could. I hoped and prayed she wouldn’t have to labor all night. I knew I wouldn’t sleep much either.

At 11:30 p.m. the call came as I had just dropped off to sleep. “We have a boy! We’ve named him Sam” said Tanya happily; she sounded a bit smoothed out by the medications.

Immediately I loved the name and the child. I loved that he was finally here, and all appeared to be well, my daughter and her husband were swooning in the early aftermath of bonding time with their new son. I told her she could break the news to her dad, anxiously awaiting news back in Virginia.

I tried to go back to sleep. Funny joke. But I didn’t mind. The labor was over. Thank God.

The next day I couldn’t get there fast enough, through a circuitous route when you end up driving west to fly east and drive south. We arrived at the hospital about 7:15 p.m. Oh happy day.


Sam was and is beautiful, a handful of hungry tummy and increasing lung strength, who did everything babies are supposed to do: squirm, grimace, make wonderful faces, yawn, sleep, nurse (open tiny mouth wide!), wet and dirty his diapers, snuggle, wake his parents too much at night. Suddenly I was thrust back into early nursing woes and pain and feeling like you’ll never get enough sleep again.

His father, after a night or two at home, said “I knew they were supposed to wake up every three hours or so to eat but I didn’t know they stayed awake between times!” My daughter said, with appreciation, “Parenting is hard.” (So much for labor being over.)

Something you can never fully prepare for ahead of time. But amid these struggles I see and hear wonderful bonds of love and commitment strengthening and I trust they too will get through these groggy days and long nights.

WithGrandmaSueWith Grandma Sue.

Welcome to the world Sam. You are loved!


Ike meets Sam.


What have been your surprises in grandparenting? Parenting? How do you work at keeping connections from a distance?

From → Faith, Family Life

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