by Ferida Wolff
I have not yet written about my new grandson, Adam. I don’t quite know what to say without sounding like a typical, besotted, recently initiated grandmother. How can I tell someone that he is the most alert baby I have ever encountered without that person rolling her eyes? As I probably would if I were listening to myself. This little boy looks directly into my eyes as if he is looking into my soul. Maybe all babies do that and I just never noticed.
How can I convey the laughter that he brings up from his belly, so heartily, so contagiously that I have to laugh with him? When I nuzzle his tummy, he grabs my cheeks between his hands, as I might do with his chubby cheeks, and we both shake with laughter. Surely other babies have as heavenly a laugh.
How is it possible to describe the total adoration on Adam’s face as he stares at his mother? It is a look so pure that I hold my breath whenever I see it. Perhaps it is only the recognition of his next meal but it elicits such a beatific response from my daughter that the connection feels holy.
Before my daughter gave birth I was told that grandmothering would be an intense experience, that no one could prepare me for the feelings I would have. I thought that was most likely an exaggeration. After all, I had lots of practice loving. I remembered the wonderment I felt when my nephew was born. I wasn’t married then and could not imagine loving any child as deeply as I did that tiny boy. But of course I could. I was overwhelmed with the depth of love for my own children. How different could this be?
As soon as Adam was born, I knew it was different, indeed. I found myself blind-sided with an indefinable love for this new being. It isn’t the possessive mother-love that is tied in with reproduction and renewal. It isn’t a protective love where I have daily responsibility for his care. And it isn’t an ego love that is looking for validation from the third generation. I think it is an ethereal love, one I feel in every cell. It is also unconditional and amazing.
My husband took a photo of Adam at four months old. This sweet baby is on his stomach, gazing up and off to the side. His eyes are bright and shining blue. He seems to be looking at something the rest of us can’t see. His hands are clasped as if in prayer. It is the picture of a cherub.
His grandmother isn’t fooled, though. I may be enchanted with Adam but I know that he doesn’t sleep enough and screams when he is hungry, which is most of the time. I know that he demands as much attention as he can possibly get. He already had an infant tantrum. I am waiting for him to spit out his mashed carrots and squish blueberries into his hair. None of it matters, however. Not with this child, my angel baby.