Walkabout: Day 55, Happy Birthday Grayson!

December 13, 2016 ~ Tuesday

[2019: My grandson is three years old today, and he continues to be a reminder to me that I have something greater than myself to live for.

I did not write any morning pages on this day three years ago. Instead, I put my own desires and ambitions on the back burner, and I was very present with my family. Grayson was the reason that gave me permission to set out on the road. I did not want to make the same mistakes I had made before. I did not want my family to be unaware of how deeply I loved them, and I wanted to let the sacredness of this experience to envelope me entirely.

So instead of sharing journal pages today, I will share the chapter from my book (GO: Sacred Solo Travel for Women) that visits the hours surrounding the birth of my grandson. Happy Birthday, Grayson!]

Chapter Twelve

Vero Beach ~ New Life

“Julia’s mom and sister are coming over this evening,” says Cameron. “I thought you women should meet before you are all together in the delivery room.”

My son has the most wonderful sense of humor, in which his wisdom shines.

I have been looking forward to spending more time with Julia and meeting her family, but now I am nervous. The ordeal in the hospital was unnerving, and I am second-guessing everything. Maybe I don’t belong here after all. Maybe there is no place for a wandering soul. Maybe blood bond is just an outdated concept that no longer has a place in the real world.

Julia’s mom, Stacey, and her sister, Jessica, bound into the apartment with arms full of items for baby Grayson’s room. The house is filled with chatter as the ladies fawn over all things adorable and cute and precious. I feel a little jealous. They have been with Julia through the whole pregnancy, through every milestone, every scary moment, and every relief. There is nothing I can contribute now. There is nothing missing from the nursery, nothing needed by the time I got here.

Jessica has two boys already and plenty of advice for Julia, who is full of nerves. It is sweet to watch big sister with her little, lifting her chin and reassuring her with her matter-of-fact and knowing tone. I feel a pang that I don’t have that kind of relationship with my own sisters.

Stacey is assessing the home and making sure all the final pieces are in place. She has an easy smile and bright eyes. She instantly warms to me and remarks how much Cameron has matured since the news about the baby. “We are very proud of him,” she tells me. “He has come such a long way.”

We sit around the coffee table, and they tell stories about meeting Cameron and his early dating bloopers. “Do you remember the time you …” and they laugh. It is obvious they love my boy as much as their girl, and I am grateful that he has found another good family to belong with. I am being welcomed into this circle, but I still feel like a stranger here. I’ve missed so much.

Later that night, when the house is quiet and it’s just me and my son together on the couch, I reach for a shred of significance.

“Does Grayson have Christmas Eve pajamas yet?” I ask.

“No, he sure doesn’t,” said Cameron.

“I want to buy his Christmas Eve pajamas,” I say.

Cameron smiles at me. Christmas Eve pajamas have been our family tradition since he was born. “Okay! That would be awesome,” he says.

I smile and pat his shoulder. “You are going to be a wonderful father, Cameron. I am so very proud of you and all you have accomplished to get ready for your baby.”

“Thanks, Mom,” he says. “I love you. I’m so glad you are here.”

“I love you, too, son,” I say. “Thank you for having me.”

Grayson Joel Morrison arrives on December 13th at 6:28 pm.

Julia was a champ for a first-time momma, and her cheering squad may have gotten a little over-zealous. My son beams as he sees his little boy for the first time, and I watch him wipe a tear from his eye.

I watch Cameron and Julia holding their baby boy together, filled with love and adoration. I am whisked back to the day my own son was born and the first time we held him, filled with awe and wonder. I wipe a tear from my own eye. The brand new baby boy is swaddled and suckled in the intimate moments after his birth, and I fade myself into the background.

The nurse enters and asks if it is alright to open the door. “Your guests are getting anxious,” she says, grinning gently.

“Yeah, my phone is blowing up,” says Jessica. She holds the screen up so Julia can see it, laughing and saying, “Grandpa is demanding to be let in.”

Stacey helps Julia sit up in the bed, pulls her gown around her shoulders and situates the pillows behind her back, trying to make her comfortable. “Okay?” she asks. Julia nods, then she looks at Cameron.

“Are you ready, babe?” asks Cameron. Julia smiles and nods at him. “We’re ready,” he says to the nurse.

The nurse opens the door, and the waiting area spills into the room with the new son as the center of the universe. He is cuddled and coddled and kissed and passed from one adoring set of arms to another. He meets uncle and papa and auntie and bestie and the room is filled with jubilation. I am swept into the celebration. I feel like my heart could burst with the joy of it. I belong here. This is my new family, too.

Finally, as the last visitors flow out of the room, my son walks to me holding my new precious grandson. He holds him out to me, cradling his head, and I gather him carefully into my arms.

Grayson is smiling. Bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. I see flashes of Cameron overlaid in his bright eyes, and I smile back at him. I hold his face close to mine, and I say to him with syrupy sweet animation,

“I walked all day and night to find you. First, I traveled through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, past the sea of twirly-swirly gumdrops, and then, I walked through the Lincoln tunnel.”

“Did you just quote Elf to him?” Cameron laughs.

“I did,” I say, beaming back at him, unashamed.

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