2011.03.16 The perks of being a grandmother

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

In his column this week, I think David failed to convey the level of excitement in the vehicle when Maddie texted, “It’s a girl!!!” (note there were three exclamation points) as we were racing to the airport nearly two weeks ago. Well, it was impossible to race when traffic was backed up on U.S. 23 due to accidents caused by icy roads, but my heart was racing and my mind was anxious as I willed traffic to disappear. 

When “It’s a girl!!!” appeared on my screen, I shouted to David, “It’s a girl!!!!!!!!!” and then cried and then laughed, because we’ve known “it” was a girl for months. Still, Maddie’s message made perfect sense. What else do you say when you already know the sex of the baby? “She’s born!” just doesn’t seem to convey it. 

“It’s a girl!!!” confirms that all those months of waiting have culminated in just what we expected…but it’s a million times beyond your wildest expectations when the sweetest little baby is presented to you just a few hours after hearing those words.

I was so afraid it was going to be lots more hours if I didn’t make my flight to Little Rock. I arrived at the airport about 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time. But when I flew out of the car as soon as David pulled up alongside Southwest’s curbside check-in, the guy assured me he’d take care of my luggage, it and I would both make my flight and I’d be seeing my grandbaby right on schedule. He was the most reassuring kindly man, issuing my boarding pass, checking in my luggage, and congratulating me on my grandbaby in what seemed like just seconds. 

I gave him a big hug, a bigger tip, and then moved on to security which looked like traffic on U.S. 23. The line for the new body scanner was slow and long and I was near tears as I told a security official that my daughter just had a baby and I wasn’t going to get to see my new grandbaby if I didn’t catch my plane. She said, “I hear ya, I feel ya, ain’t nuthin I can do about it.” I pushed my stuff through the screening machine, tears in my eyes, sure I was going to miss my flight, and headed for the end of the line.

Suddenly, the security official had a change of heart.

“Let this lady through, people, she’s gotta catch a plane to see her grandbaby!” 

I thanked her and them profusely as she directed me to go through the faster screening process. 

I spent the whole flight talking babies with my seatmate, a young mother of twins.

On the second leg of my journey, when the seatmate on my left asked where I was getting off, still bursting with excitement, I told him I was going to Little Rock where my daughter just had a baby girl.

“My son just had a baby boy and I’m getting off in Little Rock, too!” the seatmate on my right jumped in.

“Is your son married to my daughter?!” I asked, matching her enthusiasm. 

Even the people in the row ahead of us laughed.

“What are the odds?” the guy on the left kept saying. “What are the odds that you two grandmas would end up sitting next to each other?”

And what were the odds that I would leave my coat in the overhead bin? I didn’t realize it until the next day and it was a couple more days before I realized I better work harder at getting it back because all my keys were in one of the pockets. 

Southwest Airlines must have a policy of hiring the nicest people because Joanne at Central Baggage Services in Dallas offered to go search through all the tightly-packed racks of forgotten coats to see if she could locate mine. I had told her I was so excited to see my granddaughter I completely forgot my coat was in the overhead bin. I think it was the mention of the granddaughter that moved her, not the added information that my keys were in the unzipped pocket. 

Grandbabies are just so distracting. All I want to do is hold her…or take pictures of her. I feel almost evangelical about Caroline Rachel, now eight pounds of pure love. I just want to share this beautiful experience with everyone. So, l posted photos on Facebook and sent e-mails with a link to my son-in-law Taylor’s Picasa photos.

“Great photos of you and Caroline! Sweet little baby! I enjoyed Taylor's photo album,” said a friend. “Does it seem weird to know that people they don't know are viewing private photos?” she asked. 

First Taylor said, “Not at all.” Then he thought about it and decided it was kind of weird. It is, really, but at the same time (and I know this is totally biased and presumptuous), how could we not share this incredibly amazing, beautiful baby?

Even Joanne at Central Baggage enjoyed viewing the photos.

“She’s a little doll,” she e-mailed back.

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