If you have seen me out and about anywhere over the last couple of weeks, my apologies. I am sure you have been bombarded with photos, scrolling on my phone to show you the latest pictures of my granddaughter.
As much as my life changed when I became a mother, it became blessed exponentially when my granddaughter arrived. She’s like the bonus round; I can admire, cuddle, shower hugs and kisses on her and then hand her back to her parents. No changing of the dirty diapers (well, not yet anyway); no sleepless nights; no endless loads of laundry.
Even more, it is just such a joy to see her and notice subtle little changes as each day goes by. My daughter is very good about sending me several new photos regularly for those days when I don’t see her in person.
My daughter is also dealing with that apprehension I suspect all new mothers feel, wanting to make sure she does everything right, worrying about every unusual noise her daughter makes, sleeping fitfully while making sure her daughter rests comfortably.
Their Corgi, Sonny, is embracing his role as ‘big brother/protector’ and often settles in to the chair beside my daughter while she holds her daughter so he can keep an eye on both of them. The first walk they went on as a family, Ally sent me a photo of Judd and Sonny walking ahead, as she pushed Lorelei in the stroller; Sonny was looking back to make sure they were not falling too far behind.
And we all know how intuitive animals are; the last couple of days that Ally was home before heading to the hospital, Sonny would not leave her side. He sensed the change and was on high alert. If she went down the hall, he quickly trotted after her. If she went in to the bathroom, he sat outside the closed door until she emerged. He also spent time in the recliner with her, resting his head on her stomach, getting as close as he could to her and the baby almost ready to be born. When they brought Lorelei home, Sonny was quick to greet her and typically hovers close by, taking his big ‘brother’ duties seriously.
The first official family photo shoot was just a week after Lorelei was born, with my two nieces and a great-niece from Fairfield coming over for the weekend. Younger niece Vicky is the photographer, having done Ally and Judd’s ‘gender reveal’ photos previously and now the newborn session.
We also had the chance to celebrate a belated Christmas gift exchange; we simply didn’t have time during the holidays. While we enjoyed opening gifts to each other with nieces Kristel and Vicky and great-niece Nova, I also sent gifts back with them for delivery to my sister, brother-in-law and the rest of the family. It was a long distance holiday but I suspect next year we will definitely try to find a time to get together. My nephew Mikael and his family live in Lathrop and we often seem to end up gathering there for special occasions such as July 4, family birthdays, etc.
I vividly remember the first time we made the trip to Fairfield after Ally was born. She was so tiny and my sister Sue actually was the first one to give her a bath. The last of Ally’s umbilical cord had just fallen off and Sue seized the opportunity to help me with my newborn, demonstrating the safe, efficient way to bathe an infant. She had four kids, so was pretty adept at handling them and I was scared I was going to lose my grip on Ally, even though she was in one of those specially designed safe baby bathtubs.
Every experience with a newborn is fresh and alternately exciting or nerve-wracking; my best advice is just to embrace it all and hang on for the ride.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.