Both my son and his wife turn 31 this year and we had a little birthday celebration for Kevin on March 9th. I'd prepared one of his favourite meals - Waikiki Meatballs - and both his grandmothers joined us at the table that night along with our other son Andrew, Kevin's younger brother, and Andrew's girlfriend, Alyssa and her little brother Sonny. Using a timer, Kimberly had set her new camera up on the fireplace mantle to capture the moment with the family enjoying dinner together and, unbeknownst to anyone except her and Kevin, at some point she had set the camera onto 'video' mode.
While we were enjoying dessert and after Kevin had opened his cards he nonchalantly said, "Oh mom, Kim and I were in the book store the other day and we bought you a present." Well, I thought that was pretty sweet to buy ME a gift on HIS birthday but, hey, we raised the boy right after all so I didn't read too much into it. (Yes, hindsight is 20/20 I know!).
I think I made some wisecrack like, "What is it? Marketing 101 for Dummies?" because Kimberly's profession is in marketing and my family knows I am not the best when it comes to marketing myself and my books (personally I think it's because I have a VERY loud ingrained subconscious voice from my upbringing that shouts, "DON'T BRAG, DON'T BOAST, DON'T TALK ABOUT YOURSELF, BE MODEST, BE HUMBLE ..." which is of course the complete opposite mindset required to be a successful self marketer!). He handed me a pretty silver gift bag with puffs of black and white tissue paper sticking out the top. How lovely!
I'm not a dainty gift opener - I go straight for the present - and I'm sure two seconds after the gift was in my hands I let loose the most blood curdling scream imaginable as I pushed the tissue paper aside and, without taking the gift out of the bag, I read the title on the little book, Grandma, Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer.
My husband covered both his ears and if memory serves he may have cursed a little (bear in mind that he's deaf in one ear so for me to 'hurt' his ears you know I had to be screaming at a decibel that could potentially shatter glass). My son's girlfriend jumped out of her seat to comfort me because she thought I was dying. Her little brother looked around to see what was scaring me. The two 'GREAT' grandmothers continued to eat their cake as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening at all. I continued screaming as my face turned red and my heart practically pounded out of my chest and the tears started flowing ... ironically the inspirational speaker had suddenly become incapable of putting two coherent words together. Kevin and Kim just grinned across the table at me and after what must have seemed like an eternity of me screaming, Andrew finally asked, "Is Kim pregnant?" Of course ... what else (besides a live spider being inside the bag) would have caused such an INSTANT and uncharacteristic response in their normally calm, cool, collected mom?
I DREAD seeing the video ... I always pooh-poohed the women on America's Funniest Videos who screamed uncontrollably when they found out they were going to be a grandmother. I didn't understand the depth of feelings that wash over you when you hear that 'your' baby is going to 'have' a baby... it's miraculously magical ... it's surreal ... and it's the circle of life expanding.
What about the soon to be GREAT grandmothers who happily continued to eat their cake when my life as I knew it became forever changed? Hmmm... Maybe to them all this is old hat and maybe, just maybe, they feel the precious circle of life contracting just a little more with each new addition to the family tree. They are, after all the oldest living branches but, like the rest of us, destined to become the roots that keep the ever growing tree anchored.