It’s an old saw, “If I’d known how much fun grandchildren would be, I’d have had them first.” In my case, things worked out that way.
I’ve never had children. That’s a long story with some sad chapters, but what it means for me now is that I’ve skipped the hard part and gone straight to the fun. And tonight, my heart is a puddle.
My late-life romantic partner is the reason for this largesse. Robin brought me to Australia for a long stay in 2008-2009. I fell in love with his family and year-old Lily, his son’s first child. Her brother Oscar was born shortly after we returned to Canada. Then last summer Robin’s daughter gave birth to Sunday, a baby we all consider a miracle.
So here it is February 2012. Sunday and one of her mums (Robin’s daughter) met me at the Melbourne airport. I was immediately besotted with a pair of inquisitive blue eyes and a bright smile. Later, we watched Michelle and Miriam, her two mothers, give her the kind of attention and nurturing every child should have. I saw how fortunate she was to have parents who will give her room to develop her unique personality but will also hold her in their sheltering arms through the inevitable rough patches.
We left Melbourne the next day for the Grampians Jazz Festival so it was nearly a week later when we arrived at Robin’s son’s house. Robin has been staying with Darren and Nat since last November. It takes pretty special people to not only encourage him to stay on but welcome his partner as well.
We’re grateful for Skype and for parents willing to find time to help us at least be virtual grandparents, but nothing comes close to the pleasure of being here. Having no experience with small children, I’m learning as I go, and I couldn’t have better teachers than Oscar and Lily. I’d loaded my iPad with some child-friendly apps, hoping if I had enough of them at least one or two would help us move beyond the initial uncertainty we would all be feeling.
The good news is that some of them are hits with the littles. Better news is that these munchkins have hearts big enough to take me in without a tech intervention.
Our weeks in Melbourne will fly by all too quickly, but I plan to store up every morsel of love Lily, Oscar, and Sunday are willing to share. And that’s why my heart is a puddle tonight.
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