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Entries in Pride (2)


Where Does This Pride Come From?

When my children were born (or hatched as I still tell my son) I was literally at the birth. 

Sitting with my wife, I was able to watch when the contractions were coming and let her know when one was coming. 

I thought I was helping the situation, with a watchful eye and early warning.  You should also know when I am in a stressful situation, I tend to make a joke to break the tension.  My wife was not appreciative of my contraction warning or light jokes.  She announced, “No jokes” at the top of her lungs, adding an F word between “no” and “jokes.”  And the F word was NOT funny.

At delivery time, I was the right stirrup.  Up close, personal, scared, elated….after 9 months and hours of labor the delivery was relatively quick.  I experienced it all.

Now it is time to become a grandparent.  No longer in the delivery room, the grandparents are all gathered in the waiting room along with my daughter (on deck in case dad-to-be passes out.)

We expected Dad to crash through the double waiting room doors and announce the birth, like in the movies.  Mom was having a C-section, and this is abdominal surgery.  So wait we did.

My kids and I have a group text distribution list we use for updates, pictures, and sharing.  Dad’s first communication from the front line was cryptic.

“I’ve seen her.”

The grandparents erupt in joy and repeat over and over.  I’m confused.  Who has he seen?  Last I heard, he was going in to meet his wife.  Has he seen his wife or…or have we been blessed with our granddaughter?  I reply, “Who have you seen?”

Minutes go by.  This is a fast process.  What’s going on?  What is taking so long?  Is there an issue.

The next communication is a picture…a picture of the newborn.

Tears are the order of the day.  The grandparents hug and cry.  We stare at the picture of the little baby girl.

Questions swirl.  Mom’s parents are asking if Mom is OK.  Others want dimensions. 

I’m presuming Mom is ok or no pictures would be coming, and still she’s their daughter and they are understandably concerned.  Items like size are interesting, and represent a point of departure where all subsequent measures will compare. Personally, I’d like to know her name.

My daughter DOES know the name, and won’t tell.  I try to bribe her with a Starbucks, and she isn’t caving in even for Starbucks.  “Will I like the name?”  My daughter looks up, smiles and nods her head.

Suddenly sonny boy comes out, walking like he had just completed the Boston Marathon.  He’s exhausted, in awe, and a little overwhelmed.

“Everything is fine.  We can bring in grandparents two at a time, and then you’ll learn name from us.”

Hugs again, tears again….and then the processional to greet the little one starts.

I feel pride.  Heck, I took a day off from work for this and rarely, every take a day off.  I am bursting with pride.  Run around the halls kind of pride.

With new mom and dad’s approval, I start posting photos to Facebook at a frightening pace…certainly challenging Facebook’s ability to process.  Yes, she’s a decedent and all that, and privately I worry my posts may overwhelm/bore my “friends.”  Heck, some of my friends are childless.  To the contrary, the “likes” start rolling in.  People “like” these pictures of my granddaughter.  Klout, a tool for measuring social influence, suggests my greatest recent moments (actually my top six movements) are granddaughter pictures.

While I’ve suggest to my son he should publish a daily picture of the grandbaby, my occasional updates on Facebook are still met with an onslaught of happiness, and comments indicating people are really paying attention (comments on eyelashes, or a headband, or her dad’s hand.)  If a few days go by, inevitably a friend will ask for an updated picture.

I find myself driving thirty minutes for the opportunity to see and hold her, or to “check in” since I was “in the neighborhood.”  My daughter Auntie is often found holding the little one.  Her parents are still very watchful, still in awe, and are predictably exhausted.  They are lucky, too.  They get to be up close and personal with her all the time, and not just getting vague updates via text.

My grandchild brings me joy and happiness.  I can’t wait for her parents to leave her with me so the serious spoiling can begin.



When a Parent is Proudest

Sometimes children do things where all their upbringing comes together in the most amazing way.  Here is one such story.

My daughter likes running marathons.

I don’t “get it,” I get winded running out to the car let alone running 26.2 miles.

After running this year’s Boston Marathon as a “Back of the Pack” runner, she decided to get a bit more serious and applied to be a charity runner for the New York Marathon.  As a charity runner, she has to raise at least $2500, and pay fees, etc.

She got accepted!

Time to get serious!  Living in Boston, I know the Boston Marathon route and where to get in and out to see her along the way.  Not so in New York, where the Marathon goes through all five Boroughs.  No worries, I reached out to a couple New Yorkers for recommendations, and they acknowledged not knowing how to do this.  The Marathon draws 50,000 runners, and a million+ spectators.

This is one of those things where the costs rapidly get out of control.  We arranged for hotels, including paying for the extra nights required for the event.  And we got a car with a (local) driver to get us around.

And then Hurricane Sandy hit, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and some of Connecticut.

We were not sure the Marathon would even be held, and then Mayor Bloomberg said it had to happen (one week later), and the Marathon was named, “The Race to Recovery.”

Two days before the Marathon is was time for us to head to New York.  We did the typical pre-drive oil change (and inspection sticker), packed and headed down.

As we were driving, my daughter started expressing concern.  “I feel badly for those people, and feel like we shouldn’t be doing the Marathon right now.”

Of course, we reassured her.  “The Mayor says the show must go on, and the New York Road Runners must know things are OK.”

When we got just outside the City, we stopped for gas.  We waited in (a long) line, and watched people try cutting in.  A police officer was there, and commented, “If only people would take a deep breath, things could be different.  Take power and gas away from people and they go nuts.”

As we entered the City, the phone rang with a work colleague, “I was listening to ESPN radio, and I think they’ve canceled the Marathon.”  We Googled it, and saw there we rumors of cancellation, and the Mayor’s Office was denying.

And then the flood gates opened.  Eight friends sent me text messages, and my daughter’s phone started buzzing like a beehive.

We turned on ESPN Radio out of New York, and a debate was ensuing.  It was clear the NY Marathon was canceled.  The debate was why the Knick’s (storm delayed season opener) and the Giant’s games would not similarly be canceled.  Then a police officer called into the show.   “The Marathon is like a parade, with everyone running by in their shorts.”  The radio hosts went on, “Canceling the Marathon so late does little good.  Most of the runners are already here, and can’t leave immediately.  So they have to stay in hotel rooms blocking New Yorkers in need from using them.  We just saw a picture of a Mother huddled around a candle with her children as the wind swirled through the house….”

We quickly decided we could cancel our rooms and car, then head back home.  There were people in need and little interest in staying in town.

My daughter was very quiet on the way home.  We kept checking in on her, and she was dismayed people were leaving encouraging notes on her Facebook wall.

After an extended quiet time, she declared she had put her own update on Facebook:

Can without hesitation say the marathon being cancelled today was the right choice. I made the trip to NY today and saw the severe damage and waited 2 hours for gas and saw what fear can make people do.

Within seconds of getting to Times Square found out the marathon was cancelled. My family instantly cancelled all our hotel reservations and turned around to make the commute back to Boston. I would much prefer those rooms go to residents of NY who needed it more than we did.

Stay strong NY! 

She may not have had the opportunity to run the NY Marathon, but she came out tops!