We spent Father’s Day weekend at the home of our son and his wife, but Father’s Day wasn’t the reason for our visit. Instead, it was to attend and celebrate our daughter-in-law’s graduation from Nursing School on Saturday morning.

When we got to their house Friday evening, there were two gift boxes on the kitchen table. “Happy Father’s Day,” our son said, pushing one of them toward my husband. “And a belated Happy Mother’s Day to you,” he said, pushing the other box toward me. “You have to open them both at the same time,” he added.

We opened the boxes and found identical football jerseys in the team colors of our beloved Chicago Bears. The number on both jerseys was “19.” I couldn’t think of who Number 19 was on the current Bears roster, so I lifted the jersey up to look on the back, where the player’s name is always printed. On the back of my jersey was the word “Grandma.” My husband’s jersey said “Grandpa.”

And that’s how we learned that our son and daughter-in-law are going to have a baby.

At the graduation ceremony the next morning, I cheered along with the rest of the family as my daughter-in-law received her diploma. She’s worked long and hard for her degree, and I was proud of her for all her achievements – including graduating summa cum laude. But as she walked across the stage, I couldn’t help also thinking, “There goes the mother of my first grandchild!”

Later, in one of the speeches by the school officials, the speaker congratulated the graduates and said something like, “You are different now than you were when you first began this journey.” Naturally, my first thought was, “That’s right. She wasn’t pregnant then.”

I’m excited about all the new items that are now on my “To Do” list: Making a trip to the craft store to get yarn and supplies for the baby bonnets, booties, and blankets I plan to make; refreshing my memory on the checklist of things to do to baby-proof our house, although it will be a while before I need to move breakables to high shelves and get plugs for the wall outlets; and zooming in on the cute little grandma-centered items I often see in gift shops, like bibs and t-shirts that say, “If Mom says no, ask Grandma.” Or wooden plaques that say, “If I’d known grandchildren were this much fun, I’d have had them first.”

I’ve already started counting down the days. To my daughter-in-law’s due date, mainly, but also to the start of football season this year. I’ll be wearing my new jersey every Sunday, whether or not the Bears are playing. I have to show my support for my favorite team, and for the player who means the most to me – the one who’ll be calling me “Grandma.”

July 13, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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