I will never forget the morning that I was told that I was going to be a grandmother. I mean, who could forget a morning when not one, but two of their children informed them that they were pregnant (especially when both of them were teenagers)! I was scared that my children would face the same hardships as did I. I was afraid that my grandchildren would have to do without the stability that I had also struggled to provide for my own children. I was afraid that this trend that I had set into motion of being a teenage parent would simply make things harder for them.
Of course, I was also elated! At the age of 36, I was going to have two granddaughters! I went to nearly every appointment. I woke them up with gift bags or essential baby items more often than I can remember. The excitement was intense and only became stronger as we learned that the girls were due one day apart! Yes, ONE DAY!!!!
Now, when you are dealing with two teenagers (18 and 17) that are also pregnant (my daughter and my son’s girlfriend), then there will be tensions. As I am blessed with a close family, the only major tension that we dealt with was who was going to win! Who was going to bring home the first grandchild? Who was going to change my name from “Mom” to “Gigi.”
Weeks and months passed. Baby showers and crib assembly occurred. I was fortunate that my home would be the first home for my girls and I walked through impatiently awaiting the sounds that would come along with their entry.
Then, the morning happened. Chelsea (Gloria’s mother), was going to be induced due to low fluid levels. Ashley, despiting wanting to “win the race,” was excited that she was going to be an aunt while I was ecstatic that I was finally going to welcome my first granddaughter. Damion and Chelsea were excited and scared and all things that expecting parents should be! Zachary was happy that he, and he alone, was not about to be a parent but rather was going to be the cool uncle that could watch from a distance.
Labor was hard. It was hard on Chelsea, it was hard on me and her mother, and it was hard on Damion. The nurses did not get a break and the doctor was running late. The day was anything but magical as anyone who has had children can imagine. It was hard. Then, I looked over at my son who had tears running down his face asking how he could make it easier for the mother of his child. It was beautiful! No longer were the sounds of childbirth echoing in the room as the sounds of love and family took over
Then, I looked over at my son who had tears running down his face asking how he could make it easier for the mother of his child. It was beautiful! No longer were the sounds of childbirth echoing in the room as the sounds of love and family took over the space. My son was about to be a father and I was going to be a grandmother.
What seemed to be only moments later, I saw the most beautiful face I had ever seen. My granddaughter, Gloria Ann, entered this world on August 27, 2014, and changed the way that I will forever see the world.
In the days that followed, Gloria encountered medical scares that she overcame before being sent to a pediatric hospital. We were told that her oxygen level was not regulating and that she had a bowel obstruction. Yet, with the power of love and prayer, Gloria Ann was able to surpass all expectations. Then, when my son called me to the hospital, he looked at me with fear in his eyes, not fear for himself, but the kind of fear that a father feels for his child.
“They believe she has Down’s,” he managed to mumble through his tears. Immediately, I took him in my arms not as a child, but as a parent. “She has something extra and we will love her for it.”
That was it! That was all that had to be said. Gloria continues to surpass the expectations placed on her. She has no medical problems that are typically associated with Down’s Syndrome. She attends school and acts as a typical toddler. She continues to open up our eyes and change the way that we see the world just as she did the day she changed my name to “Gigi” and I will forever be grateful to both Damion and Chelsea for allowing me to tag along on this journey.
Happy Birthday, Gloria Ann! May you always win the race!