From small beginnings come great things. Proverb Quotes
It was intoxicating, this warm tropical wave of emotion that swept over me two weeks ago in the Detroit airport, that left me salty-eyed and stunned. Moments before, as I had meandered by the bookstore in Terminal A, I spied her name on the jacket of a hard-covered book. Anne Lamott had written something new. I love Anne Lamott! I love her reverently irreverent writing voice, her essays that have been counsel and affirmation for me for decades. In my thirties, Bird by Bird, her book on the writing life, had provided the push I needed to keep my hand moving across the paper, page by page, day by day. And ten years later, Traveling Mercies, the funny and poignant memoir she had written about her spiritual journey, gave me pause to contemplate and commit to paper my own spiritual musings. And now, here she was, my writing friend, ready to play with me again, in the pages of this new book.
I might have bought it no matter what she had chosen for her topic, but it couldn’t have been more perfect. She pulled me in with the jacket’s photo and she had me hooked with the title, a title wrapped around a hospital tag on the ankle of a newborn baby’s foot. Some Assembly Required, the little bracelet read. And at the bottom of the book’s cover, beneath this adorable close-up of the foot and lower leg of a pink-skinned baby were the words: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. Well, in a matter of moments, the book was mine, and I quickly found a quiet spot, flipped it open to the inside cover, to the words, “Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.” I was so excited, so appreciative; I had indeed found a playmate, a sister on this grandmother path, a freckled-faced friend with a head of frizzy red dreadlocks and words that ring real to me, a sister who had written this book I was now holding, this book that “is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family . . .”
That’s what did it. I didn’t even have to peruse the book’s pages. I didn’t have to find some phrase of Anne’s that touched my soul. It was that sentence on the book’s inside jacket, those simple words that pulled me under and left me sputtering. I, I am going to be a grandmother. In less than two months, my son and daughter-in-law are going to have a baby boy and he, this little baby, is going to change our family; he is going to change everything. In yoga, we do a side stretch called Gate Pose, and I often say, as we reach with our fingers as far as we can, that we’re opening an inside gate and that there’s something, something bigger that we’re opening up to, something wonderful that we haven’t even imagined yet. That’s how I felt as I resurfaced, sitting there in the Detroit Airport, after the wave had pulled back out again, that a gate had opened in me and I had caught a glimmer of how much more love can pour on through.
I remember the day that we brought our kitten home from the Humane Society nine years ago. It was Fourth of July and we all welcomed her, our adult sons, Chris and Pete, and Shelly, who was already a part of our family, and Cam and I. Fufu Princess was a fluffy white ball of long-haired furr and wide-mouthed meow, all spunk and spitfire. She was a Fourth of July firecracker and a sweet little cuddle-bun and we couldn’t get enough of her. All summer long we rushed home from whatever we were doing to be with our baby. Chris wrapped her around his neck and taught her to play fetch. Shelly snuggled with her. I whispered in her ear, “I’m so glad that you were born!” We were intoxicated, all of us, and Chris told us that is because babies give off a love hormone and we breathe it in and we can’t help it. We fall in love.
I’m already falling in love with Baby. Shelly was home here in the Upper Peninsula a week ago for her parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. And I could have stared at her belly for hours. He’s in there. He’s growing. He’s moving. And when I put my hands on Shel’s belly, I could feel him change position, and it was almost as though I could feel it in me, something shifting. So, in the next weeks, as Baby grows, I will read Anne Lamott’s words, appreciative to have a sister friend and guide on this path. And soon, in a matter of a few months, I will whisper in Baby’s ear, “I’m so glad that you were born!”