Baby, we’re amazed at the way we love you
To: Baby Grant
In care of : Belinda and Jim Grant
Date: Sept. 4, 2002
Dear Adriana Sophia:
As I write this, you are 6 days old. To the casual observer, your life so far is about numbers. You were born at 12:05 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2002. You weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and were 20-1/2 inches long.
Your head is 13-1/2 inches around and your chest 14-1/2 inches. ( A word of advice, don’t try to maintain those proportions.) You scored a perfect 10 on the Apgar scale. According to your mother’s meticulous record-keeping, you go through about 10 diapers a day. On Monday, you slept for four hours — at night.
All these statistics, however, don’t take into account the effect you are having on people.
Take your parents, for example. They are gaga over you.
The night before you were born, when your mother called to tell me you were coming the next day, I could hear a little trepidation in her voice. There wasn’t much I could say to reassure her except to tell her to stop watching “Maternity Ward” on The Learning Channel. It’s impossible to explain what it’s like to have a baby.
Twenty-four hours later, after you were here, she was euphoric and the high she was experiencing had nothing to do with her medication.
“This is a great day to be a mom,” she said. “I just can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.”
I saw you for the first time when you were a day and an hour old. From your pink, chubby little cheeks, to the plastic security tag clipped to your belly button, to your 10 tiny toes, you are perfect.
Do not worry, my dear Adriana, that your parents don’t know what they are doing.
Your father, the veteran news photographer, demonstrated his expert swaddling techniques with the precision and solemnity of an Eagle Scout at a court ceremony. The camera lay gathering dust on the extra bed in the hospital room like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.
“Maybe I am still too amazed,” he said, explaining why he would rather hold you than a camera.
When he put you in my arms, thank you for having the decency not to cry. Did you notice the moment I stopped holding you and started holding on to you? That’s how it’s going to be between us, I think. As you grow up, I grow older.
And, if you ever need ammunition about your mother, who is also a veteran news photographer, come to me. I will give you the unvarnished truth. I have known her for a long time and believe me, I’ve got the goods.
I will tell you about the time your mom took my then-13-year-old to her first rock concert. In fact, let’s make a date for when you are 13. We will look for the Pearl Jam reunion tour.
As soon as we learned you were on the way, back in January, some of us thought you might be a Sept. 11 baby. I was already composing in my head about how your birth would be an affirmation of life in the face of all that’s gone on in the past year. When I found out you were coming early, I won’t say I was disappointed, but I thought, darn, there goes a perfectly good column.
I was wrong, sweet baby. Who would want to wait another minute for you?
You should hear your mother. Well, I am sure you do.
“Sometimes, I just burst into tears looking at her,” she said, looking at you and bursting into tears.
Don’t be alarmed, Adriana. Your mother tends toward what we used to call high-strung, or of a “sensitive temperament.” She cries at the drop in temperature. Her feelings run deep and you have tapped into that well.
“I am so happy she’s here,” she said to me on Monday. “I can’t get over how much I love her. Jim and I just keep looking at each other with these stupid smiles and saying we can’t believe we did this.”
Thanks for coming early and giving us something so joyous to think about as we approach Sept. 11. Thanks for that extra two weeks to be hopeful about the future instead of clinging to the past.
Welcome home, Baby G.
Sheila Gardner is the night desk editor of the Nevada Appeal.