Why a baby

MickeySage and Mickey, February 2008, at the Chinese restaurant where we told Thalia that fried calamari were Chinese french fries and she ate a ton.

My step-grandmother, Mickey, died early this morning. She was 83. But she was a young 83, so vibrant and energetic that only Friday did my stepmother have to cancel Mickey’s regular tennis game.

It was sudden and it was swift, as we all hope these things should be. Still, it was too sudden. It always is.

I’ve noticed that every time a person leaves my world, a baby is born into it. Perhaps two. It seems to be the universe’s way of reminding me that this is how things go. If we’re lucky, there’s some overlap so that those of us who have learned from the generation who came before us can pass it onto the generation that comes next.

These babies are our hope, our future, our hearts.

When I clutched Thalia and Sage close in those early days I remember thinking that now, they are important to me. Eventually, they will be important to the world. They will grow to be sisters and friends, coworkers, girlfriends and maybe someone’s partner or spouse or mommy or grandma. They will matter to other people. They will matter, period.

I wish this were the wholly uplifting new mama post I had hoped it would be for the online shower (and it might have been had I gotten around to writing it earlier in the weekend). But Kristen and Rebecca, I can only remind you that when you’re done complaining about the swollen boobs and the stretch marks and the sleep deprivation; when you have a moment between the witch hazel pads and the cabbage leaves, the swadding and the shushing and the thank you note writing (or avoiding), and certainly the 5 dozen daily diaper changes—

make sure to save some time in there to love those babies and just sniff their sweet heads and appreciate the miracle that they are. Mickey was always so good at that.


53 thoughts on “Why a baby”

  1. I’m sorry for you loss, but know how fortunate you are to have had your grandmother for 40 years of your life, and to have photos of her with your daughters.

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. Cherish your memories and the life she shared. How lucky are you to have known and loved such a fabulous lady, but it sounds like you already know that.

  3. So sorry for such a loss in your family, Liz. You’re right. It’s hard to remember to take the time to sniff those little heads. It’s posts like these that are true reminders of the beauty of all things small and wonderful.

  4. I’m sorry for your loss. In my experience, it’s better when it happens fast because it leaves you with the best memories. The last time I talked to my grandmother was the same day that she had a stroke, emergency brain surgery, and ended in a coma that she never woke from. I love that she was fine the last time I talked to her. My grandfather slowly deteriorated and I think sudden is preferable.

  5. Beautiful, Liz. I’m so sorry for your loss but I know SO what you mean about the ebb and flow of life — In fact, one of my best friends lost her grandmother the day before she found out she was going to give birth to a little girl. The universe is bursting with hope and new beginnings, although, I know it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to the people who are closest to our hearts. Love to you and your family during this time.

  6. I’m sorry for your loss. Your post was lovely – I haven’t thought much about how the boys will eventually mean to much to people beyond our family.

  7. As usual you have given a great gift even in your sorrow. I don’t know if you understand how lucky your girls are to be growing up with a mother who understands how important their place in the world will be – what value they will bring to the lives around them. It is that gift that made you so understand the joy of Mickey and, I’m sure, brought great joy back to her.

  8. Such a sweet post–a great tribute to both Mickey and the little ones who are on their way.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss, Liz. It’s easy to see she lived an incredibly full life just based on the way she’s looking at Sage in that picture. My thoughts are with you and the family…

  10. I am a new one to the mom blogs. It is like finding a safe haven that I never knew existed. I have read, but never really commented on your posts. Until today. I was moved enough that I just wanted to send you my best. I love it when i hear about someone 83 years “young” and embracing life. That is how I would love to be when I reach that age. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  11. That was so perfectly said.I’m sorry to read of your loss. You’re right “Sudden” is never just easier.You always seem to say just what I was thinking of today.Today I breathed in Elle-Girl’s soft clean hair and I melt everytime!Bless you!

  12. It sounds like Mickey had a wonderful, vibrant life. I am sorry that she has had to leave you, but I am happy that it was swift. It would’ve made it harder than it needed to be. My thoughts are with you and yours, as you celebrate Mickeys amazing gifts

  13. my condolences for your loss…. on a happier note, that is the cutest photograph i’ve ever seen.

  14. I’m so sorry, Mickey sounds like she lived life right up to the end which is the way it should be. My thoughts are with your family.And I also can’t get enough baby-head sniffing or miracle-appreciation.

  15. May this lead you to a hug when you need it most. I’m sorry for your loss.

  16. very sorry for your loss. you wrote a beautiful story, your daughters will remember mickey, and the calamari-fries, and you will laugh as a family.

  17. So sorry to hear about Mickey. I know you will keep her very alive for years to come, telling your girls all about her wonderful ways.

  18. I’m sorry for you loss. It sounds as though it was peaceful however, and as you said, that’s the most we could ask for ourselves and wish for our loved ones.Blessings to your family.

  19. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. I still “talk” to mine whenever I need strength, and it helps me remember. I think that’s part of what we hate so much about loss, the feeling that we’ll start to forget them. And when it’s a grandparent, it’s losing one more person who loved you no matter what road you chose. It’s hard when we lose such unconditional love. Love to you and your family. xo

  20. Just beautiful. That woman has “special” written all over her face. You know, I wrote a long open letter on my blog today to my niece who has decided to hold up in my sister-in-laws uterus and not come out. Maybe a coincidence, but I too like to think that when we lose a great spirit, more new ones come into the world. I’ll be thinking of you and Mickey when Delaney comes into the world this week.Kim

  21. I’m so sorry for your loss, Liz. But thank you for the reminder to appreciate our little ones, and everything else life has to offer.

  22. First, I must tell you that I really am sorry for your loss. The universe saw fit to give me a son 9 years ago, who filled a hole of sadness that had been with us with my Dad’s diagnosis of cancer. He brought us joy. He still brings us joy. This is what babies do. My Dad is still alive today. Mostly because of the joy that his grandson brings him. We are glad to have had a part in this miracle. Thank you for sharing – Nards

  23. Oh wow, I guess I needed a good cry this morning. What a loving tribute to both Mickey AND your children,,and your friends, and yourself.

  24. I’d like to think my Mom is up in Heaven playing golf, tennis or racing cars with Paul Newman. Thanks for the wonderful tribute. She knew how special you and the girls are and I wish we all had more time with her.

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