I haven’t posted very much over the past six or seven months. It’s not because I’ve been busy, though I have. It’s not because I’ve run out of things to say; I have lots of them. It’s because I couldn’t talk about the thing I must wanted to talk about. Because it wasn’t my news to tell. I’ve hinted at it a few times, and I’ve told a veritable handful for people.
Today I’m going to do more than hint.
Here’s the rest of why 2012 was the best year ever. Except for 2013.
It started in mid-October (cue the sequence where the months fall off the calendar) …
“Dad, I need to tell you something.” Those words came from my son, Austin, a few months ago as he followed me into the bedroom. In the past, they’d always signaled some problem or another – he’d hit a mailbox or needed money or encountered some kind of difficulty.
I sighed, closed the door to the room, and told him to go ahead. “You can tell me anything, you know that,” I said. It was true: I generally react pretty calmly.
He just sat there. “Go ahead, Austin, just say it.”
“I can’t,” he said. “I want to, but I can’t.” He looked down. He was scared to death.
So was I.
“Austin, you can tell me anything.” He just shook his head.
“Does it concern Grace?” Grace was his girlfriend of a few months. Karen and I had met her once, and we liked her a lot.
It was evident Austin did, too. He dressed better, and he just seemed happier most of the time. He’d told us she was very smart, and they were very cute together.
He nodded his head at my statement. “Uh-oh,” I thought. Somehow, I didn’t give voice to that thought.
“Is she pregnant?”
He nodded again.
That was a bolt of lightning. I’m not even quite sure why the suggestion came to me. Somehow, I just knew.
We talked a few minutes. They were surprised, but they’d discussed it. A lot. And they’d made some very adult decisions. They were going through with it. They knew it would be hard. They’d talked about every option. And he said something else: “We’re looking at it as a good thing.”
So am I.
There was still something to deal with, though. Telling Austin’s mom. “Do you want me to do it, or do you want to do it?”
I asked. He was adamant that he’d do it. But he had to leave for work. So I told him he had to tell her within the next 48 hours or I would. He agreed.
I’m not sure what happened next. I think he had second thoughts about doing it on his own and started a fiendish plan designed to make me do his dirty work for him.
Because he sent me a text message while he was going to work. (I know, I know, he shouldn’t have texted while driving, but consider his mental state at this point.) Then he called me to make sure I’d gotten it. (I hadn’t, I was still in my room upstairs collecting my thoughts under the guise of sorting the laundry.) But here’s the thing about that phone call: Karen answered and he asked for me. She wondered why. He wouldn’t say. So she got me and I told him I hadn’t gotten it but that I would look at it. (It was a long post, obviously written before he’d told me, in which he talked about his situation.)
Anyway, we hung up, and Karen was curious. Really curious. I’m not too sure that wasn’t Austin’s plan all along, to get her asking questions.
(Cue the Mom sense tingling …)
“What was that about?” she asked from downstairs.
“It was just something between Austin and I. He’ll tell you.”
“No, you need to tell me.”
“OK, come on up …”
“Did he get a ticket? How fast was he going? When did it happen?”
“No he didn’t get a ticket. Shut the door.”
“What is it then?”
I paused, grinned, and said it: “Hello, Grandma …”
Her jaw dropped. “You’ve got to be kidding me …” Only there might have been one other word in there.
I told her I wasn’t kidding. And that Austin wasn’t, either. And that we all WOULD BE kidding. As in being around a baby. Our baby. In just a few months.
Since then, we’ve learned more about the plan. They both plan to get as much education as they can – Grace hopes to be a pharmacist; Austin’s plans are a little more fluid, but they definitely include more school. We’ve met Grace’s family, and we like them very much. Grace’s mom, Karen and I have lined up squarely behind our children and our little grandson-to-be. Trust me when I say that many arrangements have been made, with two teenagers taking the point.
Again, much of this isn’t really my story to tell – only the outlines. Hence you don’t get the excruciating detail you normally would in my posts.
We’re not fooling ourselves. We know the road ahead is going to be hard. But I want you to know this: No baby ever has been more wanted. His coming out party should happen within the next month.
Just call me Pop. Proud, Overjoyed, Protective.
“Every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.” – Charles Dickens
“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” – Alex Haley