Thursday, May 16, 2019

When Your Son Has a Son

A baby dances with its feet in the air.
Ruth Krauss

In 1988, my husband and I lived in Connecticut. We rented a house two blocks from the beach on Long Island Sound. I had a great job in New Haven. My son had the best babysitter in the entire world and we had many friends. I loved exploring New York City and New England having moved there from Utah two years earlier. 

My husband hated his job. When he was offered a job in Austin, Texas, let me just say this. There were fingernail marks in the freeway from Milford, Connecticut all the way to Texas. I wasn't upset only for the things I would miss. I was also six months pregnant. I knew no one there. And now my second child would be a Texan rather than a New Englander. God forbid. I'd never been to Texas, but.what I'd heard scared me. What if my new baby came out wearing a ten gallon hat?

Austin turned out to be a great place to raise our family. And that new little baby, my Jordan, well, he was a sweetheart.

He did grow up to wear a hat, but not like I pictured. After years of wearing one like this while running Pioneer Farms Living History Museum, 

he now wears another. That of a father. 

Last September he moved from Austin with his pregnant wife (I so felt your pain, Leigh) out to East Texas to take a job with Texas Parks and Wildlife. At the beginning of March, I was boogie boarding with a bunch of wild women aging boldly while this incredible child was born. Too much fun showing everyone my new grandson's picture. 

Miles Robert

I spent five days with Miles when I returned and they are five days I will cherish forever. 

I watched as this beautiful new family worked through the exhaustion and trials of new parenthood, My daughter-in-law quickly realized that she had prepared well, but just because women had been having babies forever didn't mean first time around they knew what the hell they were doing, especially when your body has been through the ringer and you're sleep deprived. With that simple recognition she chose to trust herself. Smart mama. Great mama.

The first bath
I watched that son of mine as Miles added more days to his young life. So calm, so relaxed. Little Miles so comfortable and safe in the arms of that gentle soul. 

Watching my children with their children is something that leaves me in awe. I'm not quite certain how to describe what I see as I'm not certain how to interpret it. I still can't believe they are old enough to have babies of their own, yet I'm proud they participate in the raising, the doing, the work of raising children. Such an exciting time in their lives.

One afternoon I watched my oldest son as he and his daughter lay on the grass in the back yard, 'noculars in hand as they searched the sky for birds.

Or another day where I watched a tired new dad sit, his new son, Miles, lying in his lap, both content with the world. 

Baby Miles. Of course we ask questions like "Who does he look like?"

His Mama?

Or his daddy?

You decide.

Does he have Uncle Ian's cheeks?

Will Grandpa teach him good stuff or bad stuff? Will Grandma have to monitor?

Will he always keep us entertained?

Aw, little Miles. So very sweet. I'm sad he is two hours away. Now I know something of what my mother used to feel, her grandchildren 1402 miles away. I do get to see him every few weeks and rock him in my arms or have him sit in the crook of my crossed leg. To show him pages from a book or play a little music for him. In his early days of hanging with me, he responded best to the Stones and Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Gotta like that.

When I say goodbye, I can't wait for our next visit. For Miles, dear Miles. Even though I might still be learning about little girls, your cousin Maisy will tell you that hanging with Grandma is an okay thing to do.

But here's a little secret. This Grandma knows how to do boys. She's well seasoned in boys. We will have great fun. Just you watch.

When my son had a son, I cried. I knew he'd be a great dad and I held such joy for him. I have no doubt Miles will become as fine a man as my Jordan, my son.

Congratulations Jordan and Leigh.


  1. I love your words and your pics and the miracle of a family you created. đź’–

  2. one of the realizations i had upon becoming a mom myself was that there was someone out there (my mom) who loved and adored me as much as i loved and adored my little baby. it is so simple, yet it packed a punch. suddenly all those times she seemed too involved in my life, or when she overstepped my idea of boundaries, made sense. of course she did. as i would, and did, and do. i have spent 27 years apologizing to my mom for things i did, attitudes i had, and for just not understanding the depth of her love. seeing your child experience this must be so beautiful. and you've captured it. and i can't wait. (PS i hear that being a grandparent is all of the good parts of being a parent and none of the bad. sounds like a good deal!)

    1. So great to see you post here. Thank you. I agree that motherhood brought a new understanding. Being a grandparent brings such joy, such a new perspective. I'm thinking you'll be a great grandma.

  3. What a fine story of your son and his child. I enjoyed every minute, and every picture. I'm glad to see you back in my news feed, too. :-)

    1. Thanks, DJan. I wish I were better at keeping up. You are the master.

  4. I am one step further on than you - my son's daughter has had a daughter and now I am a great grandma and it is even more wonderful.

    1. Wow! I can't imagine that. Certainly something to look forward to, for certain.

  5. What a lovely essay! You have raised three amazing boys and now they (and you!) will raise amazing children. Thank you for making our world a better place.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. Got lucky with those kids.

  6. Just beautiful, Julie. Lovely. Full of lovely people and a wonderful baby.

    1. Thank you, Joanne. I know you have a similar crowd that brings you great pride.

  7. Such beautiful words... I'm very happy for all of you.

  8. Congratulations on all of that joy! There's so much love in your family, it comes through your writing in such a beautiful way.

  9. Congratulations on the addition of a new person in your family - Miles!
    This post is a beautiful tribute to him and his Dad. :)


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