I can think of only a couple of things it would take the average 50-something a week to recover from. The flu? Base jumping? A particularly wild weekend? (I no longer actually recall what that last one is, but I’m told …)

But I stand before you a survivor. A survivor of 26 hours of labor and a C-section.

Oh, not me, silly. But you can call me Coach.

A Week to RecoverMy only child has given me the greatest gift I could ever receive: a grandchild. After 40 weeks and 3 days, this little angel has come into our family and changed absolutely everything.

I had long ago come to terms with the fact that “grandmother” was not to be one of my job titles. Throughout her twenties, my daughter had said repeatedly that she just could not imagine bringing a child into the world. As someone who’d wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember, I naturally assumed she’d change her mind. But year after year — 25, 30, 32 — there was no sign of second thoughts. In fact, I’d long since stopped thinking about it at all. Tim and I have a wonderful life here on our Maine island. Our daughter and her fiance decided to join us here three years ago, after a decade of big city life in Philadelphia. We were all thrilled to be living close to one another again in this peaceful and beautiful place. Who needed anything more?

Then, on the day before April Fool’s Day (I kid you not), she sprang it on me. Had she waited a day longer to tell me, I’d have laughed out loud — Hey, good one, kid, that’s a hoot! In the ensuing eight months, as her belly grew and her walk became a waddle, the reality of this child was beginning to dawn on me. But not until November 27, when I finally saw that perfect little face looking up at me, cooing, gripping my pinky finger with her tiny hand … that’s when it became real. Barely breathing, I stood frozen in place. I couldn’t tell you now what I said or even if they were human noises, so surreal was the feeling of seeing her for the first time.

When I look back on this year, on how often I was disappointed with myself for being unable to write very much, I realize how much like pregnancy my own distraction from writing was. It had to run its course. Something bigger was happening, just under the surface, and I needed to nurture it, think about it, plan for it. This is the “project” that has occupied my mind for much of 2016. It’s taken a week to recover my equilibrium enough to even write about this precious and life-altering event, but I’m happy to say we are all now settling into our new roles. A couple became a family. A couple of empty-nesters became grandparents, with the improbable sense of starting anew that brings. A baby due on Thanksgiving Day gave new meaning to the words grateful and thankful.

It’s going to take a lot more than a week to recover from the tidal wave of love engulfing my heart this holiday season.

I’m just beginning to write again in earnest, so in case I neglect to say it later, Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Remember to express your gratitude every day for all the blessings in your life, large and small.


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