Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making Them Grandparents

I thought and thought about how to tell my parents. I knew my mother would be ecstatic. She has wanted grandchildren for years. I heard her lament to someone at my wedding shower that she didn’t understand how all her sisters, who were YOUNGER than her ALL had grandchildren and she had none. I also knew that it was possible that this would elicit a very emotional response from them, especially my dad, who is a very tender-hearted guy. I had seen a silver fortune cookie in a catalog somewhere. It was to give as a gift with money, or a cute “fortune” in it. I got online and found one and bought it. I then typed up a fortune which read: “You will soon be grandparents.” Then below it, “Lucky Numbers: 05-21-2012.” I thought that was a cute way of telling them without blurting it out. Glenn and I discussed that we would let the pregnancy news sink in before we sprung twins on them. We would try not to overwhelm them all at once with the news. So, all week I stewed and couldn’t WAIT to tell them. I talked to my Mom several times on the phone and had to bite my tongue to keep from blurting out the news.

That Friday, I prepared the fortune cookie and put it in a gift bag. I drove to the restaurant with my heart banging and my stomach fluttery. We all arrived at just about the same time and we had decided to present the gift outside in the parking lot so that whatever emotional response there was, we could have a little privacy. It wasn’t ideal, but it was how it was going to be. I hugged them both hello and handed my Mom the gift bag. She looked surprised, but opened it up. She gave the fortune cookie a strange look, but the tail end of the fortune was sticking out, so she pulled it out. It was at this point that my heart sunk. I had miscalculated a bit. My Mom needs reading glasses nowadays. In my zeal to make it look like a fortune cookie, I had tried to duplicate actual fortune cookies, right down to the font size.

She held the paper out at arm’s length and squinted to read it in the gloom. For a minute, I didn't think she was going to be able to read it. Then she made a very funny face, as if she just wasn’t sure what it said. She looked up at me with a question in her eyes and I nodded yes. And with that she burst into tears. Now, this is not what I expected. I had expected excitement and happiness, not weeping. She handed the fortune to my dad, who seemed perplexed at just what was going on. I felt so bad for making her cry so soundly that I blurted out “It’s twins.” I guess I thought that might make her happy. I have no idea. At that moment, an amazing transformation happened. My mother INSTANTLY stopped crying. It was like the faucet got turned off immediately. She looked at me questioningly and said “Are you joking.” Her gaze shifted between me and Glenn and when I said “No, it’s twins!”, she instantly burst into even louder and more boisterous tears. I frankly, stood in awe. My mother is usually very reserved. If anyone is going to cry, it would be my dad, not my mom. She might cry later, but not usually that minute. I turned to my Dad who had an angelic smile on his face and a couple of tears in his eyes and hugged me and said he was very happy. All the while, my Mom is balling inconsolably. Poor Glenn had no idea what to do. He hugged my Dad too and I think my Mom recovered enough to hug us and tell us how happy she was. Eventually, when everyone was composed, we walked into Logan’s and as the waitress walked us to our seat, I realized my Mom had disappeared. When I asked my Dad where Mom was, he said she was in the bathroom crying, but she would be fine. Just sit down and look at the menu.

Mom returned to the table looking very flustered, but telling us how happy she was and asking all kinds of questions. She looked at the *fortune cookie under the light and with glasses and asked about the lucky numbers. I told her it was the due date and she seemed amazed. We showed them the ultrasound pictures. They really looked like blobs back then, but it was fun to look at them because otherwise, it was so easy to think that twins was a mistake and there couldn’t possibly be two in there.

We tried to lessen the mo-mo blow when telling my parents. And I had a hunch that my Dad, being an anesthesiologist, would know JUST what it meant, but was wise enough to keep that to himself. My Dad is a pretty smart guy in most cases and I think he does a lot of trying to manage overly-excited patients and reassure them, so he knows how to soften a hit. Later I learned that my Mom went right home and googled it. In fact, she said she asked Dad on the way home in the car and he was vague and somewhat non-committal. She said after she looked it up she woke him up and was like, “you said this wasn’t that bad. I Googled it, it’s really bad.”

It was a risk we knew we were taking in telling them, but we needed their prayers and support. And if, God forbid, that next ultrasound had shown no dividing membrane, it wouldn’t have been nice to spring that on them and let them be all excited only to dash their hopes later on. But, I figure that your grandmother prayed you guys into existence. I mean, you are probably twins because God got tired of listening to the same thing over and over again and wanted to make double sure that prayer got answered. I am joking. In all honesty, if there is a problem you are having, you couldn’t have a better ally praying for you than your grandmother.

Back out in the parking lot after dinner, Mom got teary-eyed again and told me to take care of myself and how happy she was again. Then she leveled a look at Glenn, one of the stern, serious ones and said “You take care of her.” Glenn told me later that if anything happened to the three of us, my mother would probably kill him. I said “No. You have attained golden son-in-law status by providing grandchildren.” Glenn replied, “No, she was dead serious. If anything happens to you three, I am in BIG trouble.” There might be a grain of truth to that.

*Girls, you should ask your grandmother (as of the writing of this, she hasn’t decided what she wants you to call her) to show you the fortune cookie. It lived on the mantle for months afterward and I think it might have migrated into the keepsake curio by their bedroom door. She showed it to every family member and friend that came around. I would bet dollars to donuts she will have it still and know right where it is.

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