“More is better, too many is not enough.”
This engraved message greeted each visitor as they entered into my last boss’s office in the Navy. Although I left the Navy nearly 25 years ago (1989), I have never forgotten this little pearl of wisdom and revere it as the universal mantra of supply officers and logisticians from around the globe. While the scrutiny of supply management inspections and occasional Congressional inquiries can bring some uncomfortable heat, my experience is that it pales in comparison to facing an enraged Chief Engineer who needs his spare parts, or an anxious Captain who needs his ice cream!
I would later learn this mantra proved to bring on more problems than relief in my life. Having said that, I now have come back full circle and have found an appropriate application for this mantra in my life today.
In late September Caity and Pete had driven down from their home in Pawcatuck, CT in advance of Ashley and Tyler’s wedding. As is our custom, Leigh and I waited up for the late night arrival. As is also typical, we snacked on Tostito chips and salsa, and Pete grabbed a beer. After a few minutes of catching up we agreed to have breakfast together and I said “Good night!”
The next morning I returned from the gym to the familiar homecoming meal aroma of Leigh’s scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast wafting through the air. By the time I had reached my seat at the table, Caity had already covered one-third of her plate with ketchup. As I sit down a smile comes across my face; I’m reminded of an Italian saying that goes something like, “At the kitchen table, we are all still 7 years old.” No truer words could have described Caity at this very moment.
As we finish up the meal, out of the corner of my eye, I notice Leigh suddenly sit up and her eyes widen. First she looked at Caity, and then looked at the kitchen island toward the bag of Tostito chips, and then she looked at Pete, then Caity, then me.
“Are you pregnant?” Leigh asks Caity.
Caity gave Leigh a sheepish grin, and slowly began to nod her head. Her eyes welled with tears. Leigh jumped up and hugged Caity, yelling “Oh my God! Oh my God!”.
Ten thousand years of evolutionary forces kicked in for me as I instinctively thrust my arms up in the air signaling “Touchdown!” This apparently is my “go to” instinctual move, possibly revealing how cavemen once communicated “I’m sleeping with a grandmother!” I then stood up to shake Pete’s hand, give him a hug, and kiss him on the head. Then we swapped and I hugged Caity and Leigh held Pete.
It was a special moment; a very, very special moment.
“How did you know?” Pete asked.
Leigh responded, “Caity sighed.”
“What? Caity sighed! From that you knew she was pregnant?” he laughed.
“I was looking at Caity as she held the last bite of her toast near her mouth, and she sighed. I knew she wasn’t feeling well and did not have a cup of coffee in front of her. I looked to the island, but did not see her coffee cup. Then I looked back at her plate to where she left at least two full wipes of ketchup on her plate. Then I remembered she did not have a beer when she came in last night!”
Pete and I just grinned, looked at each other and shook our heads in unison.
“We were trying to figure out how to tell you.” She said. “We just had blood work done last week and confirmed it on Tuesday”.
Although we’ve been down this familiar road before, we could not be more thrilled or happier for Caity and Pete. Roughly a year ago I penned, “I’ve been sleeping with a grandmother”. This described the moment when Chris and Lindsey told us we would be grandparents for the first time. At this same kitchen table, with my same “Touchdown” arms reaction, and the same “You can’t tell anybody yet!” condition, Chris and Lindsey blew our minds with the “We’re pregnant!” news. I know this is isn’t all about me, but it does seem patently unfair that the blogger of the family finds out ‘early’ but can’t talk about it until the designated ‘black-out’ period has expired!
According to this week’s report from TheBump.com, Baby McSerra is the size of a plum, or approximately 2.1 inches in length and .49 ounces in weight. Last week it was a lime; next week – it’ll be a peach. While the pregnancy tracking website provides a lot of what I am sure is useful and interesting information about my daughter’s changing body, I’m good with the limiting the information flow to weekly fruit and vegetable metaphors and a late June 2014 due date.
Caity has been preparing for this role her entire life. From early baby dolls and American Girl Dolls, to baby sitting and mentoring younger cousins and neighbors, Caity has always loved the little ones. She has a sense about her that connects with whomever she is with. The art of parenting is exactly that, an ART: Attention, Respect, and Trust. Caity is flush in all three suits. It is in her DNA and it is her pre-destiny. She is ready for prime time parenting. She gets it honestly from Leigh.
While everything in life seems new again with grandson Levi’s arrival this past May, one conclusion I’ve drawn in contemplating the arrival of Baby McSerra is that there is simply nothing old about becoming a grandparent again. After all the hugs and high five’s, and tears and touchdown arms, there is a quiet, serene pool of boundless and infinite love: It is constant. It is flowing. It is endless. It is now. It’s like the love for a child, but somehow different. Perhaps one gift of aging is that we worry less about the details of the upcoming journey and focus more on the preciousness of the present moment. There is a phrase in a gospel verse, “our heart burns within”. This is exactly what I am talking about, this is exactly how I feel. Already my heart burns within just knowing this child is heading our way.
My parents have 6 grandchildren. My in laws, Joe and Carol Moomaw, have 15 grandchildren. That’s a lot of fruit and vegetables to watch grow over the years! Yet by their example I am shown that each grandchild is loved and celebrated like each is an only grandchild. It is amazing to feel the gift of this boundless and infinite love.
Congratulations Caity and Pete! We are so pleased for you and know you will be awesome parents.
Although I certainly don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on either Chris or Caity, but, when it comes to grandchildren, remember, “More is better, too many is not enough!” Just sayin…