On February 24th , I picked up Annie from the bus station because she came up from Brooklyn to help me the next day with an event I was hosting at my home. She dug through her bag and pulled out a card and said, “Pull over for a second…Tony and I have something for you we forgot to bring for your birthday.” I pulled over and turned on the overhead light. I opened the envelope, thinking to myself that I was about to get a nice gift card, flipped over the card and read, “For Grandma on her Birthday…”
As many times that Annie and Tony came up and I wished that was the news they had – slyly testing out my unfounded suspicions by offering Annie a glass of wine as she walked in the door, only to have her readily accept – I didn’t see this coming. To be fair, my friend Guy had a premonition about this, but he said I’d hear about it around Christmas time (which is why I was always at the ready with an open bottle of Yellow Tail Cabernet and a glass…for testing purposes only). I can’t even explain how I felt…it was a mixture of disbelief, joy and another, somewhat surreal feeling, as if everything was about to change.
Which it will.
Annie and I hugged and cried in the parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts for a few minutes before getting on the road to home. I felt a huge obligation on my shoulders as I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. Every car was a potential bad driver, every shadow held a potential danger. I think I was gripping the wheel as hard as I did when I drove Annie and then Christopher for the first time when they were babies. The responsibility was monumental and I was as alert and vigilant as I’ve ever been.
On the way home, Annie told me about the suspicions that led her to the early pregnancy test section of the drugstore, her confirmation trip to the doctor and the way she let Tony know. We devised a fun way to tell Angelo (telling him about a new magazine we thought he’d like that Annie just got – Pregnancy & Newborn! Get it? We are so clever…) and he was just as overcome as we were. We spent the evening eating some dinner and having some wine…just me, though. Grandmas don’t have to quit drinking during the pregnancy.
The rest of the weekend was a blur of baby talk and planning. Annie was amazing at helping me with my event – hosting a presentation and a high tea for a literary organization that I am a member of. The other ladies in the group loved Annie and couldn’t say enough complimentary things about the way she “co-hosted”. The one thing they couldn’t say, though, was “Congratulations!” Because Annie swore me to silence on the news. But it was on the tip of my tongue for the rest of the day. And week…and month.
She and Tony decided to initially share the news only with their parents because it was so early in the pregnancy. Siblings and grandparents came a couple of weeks later…but I still couldn’t tell anyone else. (The real question is, of course, did I anyway?) After I told my parents, I couldn’t wait to tell my brother and sister. But I couldn’t. So I quit talking to them. I quit talking to almost anyone that I might spill the beans to. And I definitely couldn’t post it on my Facebook page.
While I respected their right to make this decision, I was going crazy to tell people. So I told the relatives in Italy when we were there. So, yes, they all knew two weeks ago. But many of them don’t speak English, so I figured I was safe. Since Friday though, the ban has been lifted. Annie and Tony went to the doctor and saw the heartbeat on their little bambino/a. I got the go ahead to call people now…but still no Facebook! Annie called me on Saturday night to ask me how many people I called. I finally talked to my sister, but I didn’t reach my brother. But that’s it. I’m not really a phone person anyway and I stewed about how I was going to tell everyone without the effortless megaphone quality of Facebook. And then I realized…I’m a writer. I’ll write about it. (duh) So, this, my friends is my official announcement – I’m going to be a Grandma! In October!