Notes To My Grandson

Hospital parking lot.

Hospital parking lot.

On the day you arrived, temperatures dropped into the single digits. A winter storm had battered Northwest Oregon for three days. Feathers of dry snow fell in the mountains and throughout the Columbia Gorge. The Hood River Valley, which is named for the town that would be your home, rested under a thick white blanket.

Weather advisories halted activity in most communities. Schools closed and the Interstate shut down. But you were safe in the care of your intrepid mom and dad. They arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am, having navigated blizzard-like conditions with the aplomb for which they are both known. Your parents possess the determined grit of athletes, a trait you will inherit.

You and mom.

You and mom.

We knew when you would be born. A Caesarian procedure was scheduled for January 11, 2017. Your birth occurred at 8:28 am. You weighed 9.7 pounds and measured 21 and 1/2 inches in length.

Even without the ritual of labor, the triumph of childbirth is messy. You emerged from surgery with bruises on your upper arms and a red abrasion at the back of your head.

When I first gazed upon you in the maternity ward, your skin seemed translucent. It pulsed with colors ranging from light pink to deep purple. You had remarkably long fingers and toes. Chubby, well developed arms and legs reflected the strength of the woman who carried you for the nine months of your development.

You quickly took to nursing even though mom’s milk did not flow the first day. With each attempt at feeding you lay contented on your mother’s chest nuzzling and bonding alongside she who would be your primary guide during infancy.

You and dad.

You and dad.

Everyone took turns holding you. First of all, your dad. His self-confidence is one of your birthrights. As a builder, he gets things done. You will come of age in a community built, in part, by your father and his friends.

After dad came Grammy Jennifer, Gramma D, Nana, Papa Guerra, and myself. You have adoring grandparents who were present on the day you were born. Grandpa Jeff came a day later, equally proud and excited by your arrival into the world.

Your long wavy hair resembled big sister Savannah’s at the time of her birth. She had spent the morning with the grandmas, then visited for the first time in the middle of the afternoon. You were not yet eight hours old when she held you gently in her arms. If you fussed, she consoled you with soft reassurances. Mostly, though, she marveled at your twitches and reflexes … your aliveness.

You and Nana and big sister Savannah.

You and Nana and big sister Savannah.

Soon, her every move will captivate your attention. Her creative play and caring nature are personality traits you will mimic. You could not ask for a better role model.

On day two, donor breast milk satisfied your hunger. This led to long naps punctuated by squeaks, snuffles, and murmurs. I held you for 20 minutes during one of these rest periods. If you stirred awake, gentle rocking helped you relax.

By the third day, your sleep periods increased. Again, I cradled you in my arms, this time for over an hour. You slept peacefully, occasionally shrugging your big shoulders and kicking the blanket off your feet.

Courtyard of the hospital cafeteria.

Courtyard of the hospital cafeteria.

Later that day, Friday the 13th, you exited the hospital. Packed snow covered the streets. The temperature hovered at 17 degrees. Your birth certificate read: Samuel Edward Smith. The first name has a solidity that appealed to your parents. Your middle name is a tribute to grandfather “Papa Guerra,” your mom’s dad.

I like the name. Nonetheless, given the wildness of the winter’s weather, I felt partial to calling you Stormy.

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22 responses to “Notes To My Grandson

    • Thanks Janet. Sam returned to the hospital after his first day home. He spent another night in maternity receiving light therapy for jaundice. All is well. The family is back home resting.

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  1. Thanks for the lovely recap of Sam’s Birthday. Looking forward to meeting the newest Smith. I also think Savvy will be an incredible big sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful entry into this world and a story of his being and arrival, it’s wonderful and something to be cherished forever. Thank you kids for sharing and give the new little (well not so little)one a kiss from his great Uncle Butch & great Auntie Dianne and can’t wait to come up North in the Spring and see your young son and big sister Savvy. Love you all.

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  3. This may be the most exceptional post I’ll read all year, John. Beautifully written and described, and I think Samuel Edward will one day hold onto this story like no other, a favorite to read & re-read. Congratulations to you and your whole family for this treasure and a fantastic way to enter 2017. Wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful, touching story John! Reminding me of my 2 birth experiences with my now (very adult) children! Love your writing and your posts. Beautiful poetic words and stunning pictures! Thank you for sharing your family with us! Next your MM update.

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  5. Congratulations, Grandpa, once again. Your account was so vivid, it took me back to the times when my youngest brother and sister were born. That gentle, intimate excitement. Savannah will always remember it, too.

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  6. Congratulations to all. What a great beginning to his life. He will especially enjoy this recap when he gets to be our age (or perhaps a little younger!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Family | Good Blood, Bad Blood·

  8. YAY! Such good news! 1 / 11

    Michael Byrne was born in a blizzard and he has always been proud of that fact—part of his strength of character—and love of skiing.

    And I know for sure, your baby boy will be the same way.
    After all, it’s already in his genes! Congratulations to the whole fam.

    season of the snow globe,
    Teri Byrne
    ps. say hello hello to Marilyn for me x-x-x-x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing the wonder and beauty and love of such an important arrival. Gary and I have yet to experience grandparenthood, but your powerful post gives us something we look forward to. Oh yeah, and congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grandparenting rekindles the wonder at the miracle of life. It gives me perspective on my own parenting and what a daunting task that is. Love is the key to success, though it does not shield us from the worry.

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