Ten years ago today, I arrived in Oklahoma City from my Texas home to hold my first grandchild in my arms. I couldn’t sleep the night of Jackson’s birth. Too much excitement. So it was easy to catch that first flight out of Houston that left the gate at O-dark-hundred. Jackson was a mere five hours old when I arrived.
Yet it seems longer than ten years to my way of thinking; so much life has been packed into those 3,652 days. But I wonder what thoughts Jackson might have about his first ten years of life. What has been grand? What would Jackson change if he could? Maybe I’ll ask Jackson those questions tomorrow; after we’ve sung the birthday song and shared some of that red velvet cake with Grandma Carol’s special frosting, that Jackson requested for his birthday.
Another grandmother — my good friend Kathy — was born yesterday when her first grandchild came into the world. Kathy’s husband Jim pastored my church at the time of Jackson’s birth. And ’til my dying day, I’ll never forget Jim laughing at my grandmother name that my daughter Kate baptized me with. Nana Nell. I admit, the name keeps me humble. And who knows that maybe my grandmother call name wasn’t payback for my giving Kate her middle name of Louise, in honor of my mother’s middle name. If so, I’d say we are more than even.
These days Kate is a young grandmother herself — a step-grandmother to be more accurate. And did she call herself Nana Kate? No, she calls herself Gigi. So my advice to Kathy is to take charge of your grandmother call name. Do not leave such important things to fate or to the whims of your child who may decide this is a good time for paybacks. If all goes well, you will hear your call name many, many times in the days and years ahead. Usually with a question mark behind it. But always with love and trust in front of it.
Kathy announced her joy (and relief?) to her world of Facebook friends, who were waiting two computers away to hear it. Her words were written around midnight:
“Madison as born at 6:07 pm. She weighs 7 lbs and is 20 inches long. Chad and Sara coached Katie, I cheered her on and Jim prayed from the hall. Katie did a super job!!! and deserves a long winter’s nap…but that’s not how God made it.:-)
I do not remember Jackson’s birth time or his birth weight and height. I have those numbers recorded in a memory book somewhere, that for the life of me, I can’t put my hands on right now. I drive myself crazy with my disorganized life. But I can recall that his mother Kate named her new baby boy Jackson Thomas, in honor of both great-grandfather’s called Jack and his paternal grandfather named Thomas. And thankfully, I was able to locate a journal where I recorded some consoling thoughts the evening after I left Kate and Jackson behind to live their own lives, after spending those first precious, sleep-deprived and sometimes scary ten days of Jacskon’s life. Kathy was one of the first to encourage me to keep a journal. So to her I breathe a word of thanks to Kathy, as I re-live these ten year old memories.
Sunday, Sept. 12, 1999
I’m on my way home after spending the last 10 days with Kate and new grandson Jackson Thomas. It was hard to say good-bye — it always is for me. I remember how I felt 21 years ago, when my mom left me with Kate after she had stayed with me a week. In fact, I’ve recalled that week a lot this past 10 days as I tried to help Kate in all the ways my mom helped me. I will miss them both very much — but they may be coming for a visit in a couple of weeks — something to look forward to. It will be nice to get home , to see the boys and Kara and see Mac and Tav. I won’t see Don for at least a week…until he returns from Switzerland. As Kate points out, we will have been apart for 16 days minimum by the time Don returns. Well, writing has lessened the emotions from departure. I must look forward–although I will always treasure these past 10 days.
Happy 10th birthday Jackson. You are a GRAND son. Always have been. Always will be. And this Nana loves you very much.