Updated: Sep 14, 2018
Mom is sitting at the kitchen table, arms folded tight across her chest, closely watching me bake as my daughter Ashley passes through the kitchen with Baby Anna . . .
MIL: Who’s that?!
Me: Baby Anna
MIL: (eyes open very wide) Your baby?!?
Me: No (chuckle), my sister Chrissy’s baby
MIL: Oh (looking at Anna intently)
I take a tray of cookies out of the oven as Ashley brings Anna back into the kitchen
MIL: (looking at Ashley with knitted eyebrows) You had a baby?!
Ashley: No, Grandma, this isn’t my baby.
Me: Baby Anna is my sister Christen’s baby, Ma.
MIL: Oh (reaching out to Anna and smiling). Will she come to me?
Ashley: I don’t know Grandma, she just woke up.
MIL: Well she doesn’t know me . . . I don’t know her it's okay.
The day was beautiful, so when the cookies were done, we moved Mom from the kitchen table to the back deck for a little sun and fresh air. We laid a blanket out and set Anna up to play. The warm sun gave each of us a fresh glow. I sat next to Anna and Mom on the deck.
Me: Mom, tell me a childhood memory!
MIL: Ha! Memory? That’s funny
Me: (Laughing) I guess it is.
MIL: I don’t have (tapping her forehead) . . . um, memories anymore . . . you have to tell me . . .
Me: Do you remember your dad’s blacksmith shop?
MIL: Of course I do . . . um . . . I went there because my mom didn’t want me around when she . . . (closing her eyes tight) I don’t know what to call it that she was . . . I don’t know . . . (sigh) . . . so I stayed with my dad. . . . (Folding her arms tight across her chest, Mom continues) You know I was a mistake . . . my sisters are older and were supposed to be born . . . I was a mistake.
Me: No child is ever a mistake.
My heart breaks for her, she says things like this over and over again. I look at Anna and think of what a beautiful gift she is. Mom wasn’t a "mistake," she was a "ut oh"! I, for one, am very happy she was born. I look over to Mom again and together we watch Anna play.
MIL: What’s her name?
MIL: Your baby?
Me: No, Ma, she's my sister Christen’s baby. (I pick up the baby and turn her toward MIL.) Anna, wave to Grandma!
MIL: Yeah (giggling), wave to Grandma!
Anna sees Joe sit down on the back steps and squeals, jumping and throwing her arms around.
MIL: (Giving a hearty laugh, looking at Joe and smiling wide) She likes you!
Joe: Hey there Anna! (Joe air high fives Anna.) Yep babies, puppies, and old ladies, he laughs, they all love me.
Ashley: (Blowing kisses to Anna) Blow kisses, Anna!
MIL: Blow kisses!
Me: Anna? Can you blow kisses to Grandma?
MIL: Yeah! I’m your Grandma! Give me kisses!
Joe and I exchange a look. No, she’s not her grandmother, but there was no harm in letting her believe she was for a while. She was so happy!
Me: Go on Anna . . . send kisses to Grandma.
It was the first time in a long time we saw Mom smile and watch anything with sincere interest. It’s pretty common these days to have her just stare off into space. The sun was good for her, the gift of Baby Anna was good for her . . . the two of them, both gifts from Heaven, were good for me today, and every day. Sometimes it's just a good thing to take a moment and be thankful for the gift you have been given.