After Mother's Day
"We don't have a baby in the house anymore," Maria had several times told me in a nostalgic tone. Our youngest grandchild is old enough to go to school.
"Why, do you want to have a baby in the house at this stage of our lives? But why?" I asked.
" I just love babies," she replied.
"Sorry, but we can't have one anymore. You are past your child-bearing age. Unless we adopt one," I said jokingly. But that would not be your "apo" (grandchild).
Months later, our son and daughter-in-law happily announced that they were going to have another baby.
"There you have it. Your wish-come-true," I said to Maria. She was thrilled.
Grandma Maria wakes up early whenever Baby Soleil is scheduled to come. She sleeps downstairs so she can hear the doorbell and open the door without making her and her dad or mom wait for a second longer.
Having raised four children of her own, Grandma is no stranger to holding a baby, feeding and changing diapers while talking to her, and lulling her to sleep with her heart pressed close to hers. Watching Grandma in that position can make love seem so palpable that you can even touch it.
But it is more than her own experience as a mother that she can do this with her grandchild. Maria has the heart of a mother and loving a child comes as second nature to her. Grandparents often tell each other that they love being "apo-stles."
But it is not only baby "apos" that are the object of Maria's love. It is all eight of them, and seven of them are now all attending grade school. She feels bad whenever she cannot attend their school events like when they receive academic and all kinds of awards, or perform in band concerts and piano and violin recitals, or even when playing soccer in school.
Grandma's favorite stores are Target and Toys-R-Us (before it closed shop). She could not enjoy trips like the recent one in Florida if she did not find Legoland and buy Legos for each one. Even if you give her Kohls and Macy's gift cards on her birthday, she will spend it at the toys or kids clothes section. And when we bring Joey to Mary's Shrine in DC, we would always pass by the gift shop and bookstore for a crucifix (for Joey's collection) or a children's book.
Grandma will always find the time with her baby apo and her older apos in-between doctors' appointments, bouts with chest and knee pain, her daily walking exercise, and her going to weekday Masses. And she will not agree with me to spend the rest of our retirement years in a place where we can avoid the cold winter and where houses are more affordable. She cannot live far away from her family.
Maria's "apos" will eventually be no longer babies and will have lives of their own. Just like her own children. Hopefully, they will all have fond memories of their grandma who loves them, in a way more special than she loved their own mothers and fathers.
I am so proud of Maria. She is my wife.
May God grant her more years of reflecting His love.#
“Children’s children are the crown of the aged.” (Proverbs 17:6)
(I'm sure most grandmas can relate to this.)