When the phone rings at 4:54 a.m., you hope it’s a wrong number. As you fumble and stumble your way out of bed, trying to pick up before the answering machine does, your mind does a quick roll call: Who isn’t home? Who’s traveling? Who’s been ill? Your heart immediately asks with dread, “What’s wrong?”
The intensity of this litany of fear depends on your family, and the imagined scenarios vary according to whether you have teenagers, a spouse in the military, or elderly parents.
In our household, the instantaneous internal check at such a time goes first to elderly parents. So when I picked up the phone early this morning, simultaneously with the answering machine, all my half-asleep brain heard at first over the recording was something about “grandma.” It took me a couple of seconds to grasp that “Grandma” didn’t refer either to my mother or my mother-in-law.
I had momentarily forgotten one category in my mental checklist—pregnant daughters. Okay, pregnant stepdaughters, if you want to get technical. But when grandchildren are involved, who cares about technicalities? "Grandma" meant me.
Adrien Allen was born at one-something a.m. on January 26, 2008. He weighed nine pounds. His birth took place at home, which was planned, but he was in enough of a hurry that he arrived before the midwife did. His dad did the baby-catching, and very well, too.
This is grandkid number five, with number six due in another few weeks. The middle name honors his grandfather, who will never know this child because he died five years ago. There were a few tears for that, amid my quiet predawn celebration.
My celebration also held a touch of relief. This early morning call brought nothing but delight. No one is ill; no one is hurt; no one is gone. Other changes will come in their time, but today, the family has grown by one. That one is already loved and most welcome.
You have a terrific family, Adrien Allen. Welcome to the world.