Thursday, June 01, 2006

Our First Great Grandchild

Struck with awe at the birth of Aidan Chance Archibald, life has paused here at Woodsong the last two days. We had known for a long time that this baby was to be a boy, and his parents had his name chosen and waiting.

At the first of the week, we were told that our oldest grandchild, Tara Archibald, would be going to the hospital yesterday at 6 a.m. to induce labor before the baby became any bigger. Throughout the morning relatives were coming and going at Heartland Hospital to give Tara and her husband Bryan encouragement and company. The labor started slowly, and except for Tara, who was working, the first half of the day passed uneventfully. We all watched the monitor anxiously and an occasional nurse came and went, and then doctor made a welcome visit at mid-morning. Although security measures were firmly in place to enter the labor/nursery ward, once we were there we were made most welcome and comfortable by the staff.

Tara’s two sisters, Erin and Geri Ann, were there eagerly awaiting their first nephew. First-time grandmother Vickie was calm and smiling and dignified while we visited. First-time grandfather Gerry was in and out--nervous and excited but also smiling. Gerald had had a doctor’s appointment requiring blood tests and had fasted from the previous day. So we left at almost noon for him to eat breakfast and me lunch. We decided to go back to the farm and wait for the phone call about the baby’s birth.

When the phone call came, we went back to town to join Aidan’s first family gathering. We admired his black curly hair, his big feet and hands, and his beautiful little face. Great Grandma Shirley was there and announced Aidan was the most pleasant baby--just not crying a bit. Soon the nurse came in, and she and Tara instructed Aidan on nursing. While he was shielded by his blanket, the rest of us looked at his pictures on people‘s cameras and carried on conversations about how beautiful this special child was.

To say we were all overwhelmed by the miracle in the room is an understatement. Emotions of relief and concern for Aidan’s mother were palpable, and tears of joy and happiness and gratefulness for his safe arrival were near the surface. We passed him around letting everyone delight in him. Just seeing his little tongue moving inside that miniature mouth was an amazing sight. And that little nose. And ears. Indeed, how wonderfully humans are made.

When the nurse came to give him his first shampoo and bath, we were mesmerized by his beauty and grateful for her expertise and competent handling. Swaddled in soft cotton gown and receiving blanket, he was a contented baby, and we all took our turns holding him again. I told Aidan he did not have to ever play ball if he did not want to--that we would love him just as much. Gerry had a man-to-man conversation with him and told him that he was going to take him frog gigging and hunting and all kind of exciting things.

Somewhere in here Aunt Erin had gone for the birthday cake that Tara had ordered for Aidan and his father. Bryan was 26 yesterday. They will be celebrating birthdays together from now on. Although Tara said not to hurry off, we felt she deserved a rest, and after stopping for supper, we went back to the farm to share the good news with friends and relatives.

We went back today to see Aidan once more before his doctor dismissed the little family to return to their home in DuQuoin. Gerald had forgotten our camera yesterday, and he wanted his very own pictures of this family. Since Bryan has taken a job with an architecture firm in the Chicago area, we know our family gatherings with Aidan will be few and far between for us great grandparents. I suspect that Gerry and Vickie and Geri Ann will arrange frequent visits. And Erin knows exactly how long it is going to take her to drive over from Notre Dame to see him on the weekends.

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