I threw just about everything I could think of into a bag and hastily made reservations to fly out later that day. It was a wonderful thing that I made it before Alexandra was born. The universe conspired to make me a part of this incredible moment (even if I was in the waiting room).
The joy of holding a grandchild in your arms is at once magical and wonderful and yet strange and takes a moment to sink in. Who is this little creature you are holding. They tell you her name is Alexandra Joyce Katherine Welch (the third name in honor of me, my Mom and my great grandmother). You let that sink in and look at her nose, her hairline, her chin and seek to find the familiar in this unique little person. You look deeply at every part of her saying her name over and over in your head to properly place her in your mind. And as you do this you look back on when your own children were born. The newness, the wonder, the tiny bit of nervousness all is still fresh in your memory. And this feeling you are aware of is as familiar as those memories, something has changed.
My time I spent in Virginia was a blessing beyond measure. This little girl this grandchild of Glenn and me, will spend most of her time far away from us. And in as much as people seek to comfort me with words like "Facetime" or "Skype" I know there is little that can replace dancing with your granddaughter to show tunes, or soothing her with a steady hold and make believe lullaby.
We celebrated my 60th birthday the four of us. Three generations. I realized that when I think of my grandmother, that is Alex's Great Great Grandmother and I feel my age. But the feeling I get is not sad, it is rejoiceful. I rejoice that I can be the messenger of the women who went before me. I can sing Grandmother Dietel's song to Alex and she can feel her love through me. I can dance a jig in the living room and cry at the drop of a hat and share little bit of my Mother with her.
I have been blessed with enough time to make this happen, when there was a day in which I would not have been able to.
We went on an adventure to Assateague Island and stood on a beach not far from where our ancestors walked. We saw ponies running wild that were part of my childhood favorite books. Together we welcomed life, its past, its present and its future.
Yes, something has changed in a profound way, but in an odd way it really hasn't. It has sharpened everything to a fine and definite portrait of life. I am so very grateful to have been given this gift.
When I left Virginia, I was mighty brave until I left the car at the curb of the airport where my eyes welled up with tears. In the years to come I am sure to have many moments where I share tie with Alexandra, but it is hard to imagine any more moving than these three weeks.
And whatever you call me, whenever you call me know I will always be there.