I met my great grandson yesterday for the first time. His name is Liam, a diminutive of William, a family name on my husband’s side. He’s tiny or maybe I’ve just forgotten how small newborns are. He weighed seven pounds and change, so not small, but he felt as light as air in my arms. My pride and love was so overwhelming I cried unashamedly.
Although his coming is not in the most perfect of circumstances, his mom is so young and she has such a high hill to climb, as they say where I come from, “It ain’t no hill for a stepper!” She is a stepper too. I predict so much love and happiness for him and from him and strong victories for his mother, my granddaughter.
Meeting him made me think of how my family has always had a deep connection to its roots and the DNA of my clan is very clear to see in each new baby. The hair, the eyes and the temper is always there. There is usually at least one artist in the bunch and I expect to see something of this in him. I look forward to watching him grow and become.
Several years ago my son, Liam’s grandfather, had a child with a very young girl and she decided to have the baby but selflessly gave her up for adoption to a family who would love her and provide stability. It was a wise decision and I’m sure a crazy hard one for a girl so young.
I’ve never gotten over it. The baby girl was my first grandchild and as I’ve said my family has deep roots and strong DNA. We are, after all, Scandinavians.
Holding my great grandson Liam made me happy he’s with me and I wondered again about my son’s first daughter, my first granddaughter, Liam’s aunt. Did she marry? Do I have other great grandchildren? Will we ever meet?
Probably not, but I wrote this poem to/for her a few years after she was born just in case, so she’d know she was never very far from my thoughts and just as my four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, deep in my heart and always in my prayers. Forgive me. Liam’s birth has made me introspective I guess.
Jocelyn (Baby Went Bye-bye)
I heard your name and purposed never to forget it
though you were given nothing of me but my blood.
Your curly head rests blamelessly
in anonymous arms
as I utter pre-emptive prayers
and cast spells against the forces
that bring circumstances
It is no surprise to me now as I sit on my terrace
peering through the smoke of remembrance
that I find you vanished in my past, yet
secreted in my future.
Will you show up on my porch
like a stray puppy
demanding papers of pedigree?
I hope so.
I trust you won’t be disappointed
when you discover that
in the same way I lost you, you’ve found me
bloodied without wound—mouth seeking sustenance
my profile a falcon prow
on a ship sent to explore the likelihood
of a new world where there are
no names, no pain and no bye byes.