We were not sure we were going to have the opportunity to be grandparents. One after another of our friends heralded the birth of a grandchild, declaring the experience incomparable. We became doubtful of ever belonging to the club of grandparents. Not wanting to be intrusive, we avoided questioning Matt and Jenna about their “intentions.” About the time I became reconciled to the notion of not becoming a grandparent, lo and behold, they announced they were pregnant! Sebastian was born and we were bestowed the coveted titles of Nana and Papa!
All that our friends had said was true. Nothing compared to this blessing. Over the next several years, Sebastian’s parents debated having another child. If they chose to, this would be another “geriatric pregnancy,” a description not at all appreciated by Jenna! And, indeed, when they did conceive again, it proved to be a most difficult and stressful period. Some circumstances delayed their departure for their overseas assignment. To keep the assignment, Matt had to go overseas for six week stretches. Nana and Papa gladly stepped in to fill the gap. But Sebastian was too young to comprehend what was happening. He only knew his beloved Daddy was gone. And Mama’s schedule meant she left early and returned late.
As if that were not enough complications, Jenna had two deaths of loved ones in her father’s family that occurred over the course of her pregnancy. She was eight months along when she attended the funeral of her stepbrother. Sebastian became ill while she was gone. She returned with the flu herself and had to be isolated from Sebastian and us to minimize exposure. She coughed so much that she actually cracked ribs.
When she seemed stable, I had flew home, intending to return 10 days later for the expected birth. But I was barely home before Terry called to report that Jenna was put on bedrest, that her amniotic fluid was low. I caught the next plane to return but by that time she had been hospitalized. She went into labor that lasted several excruciating days and included an episode where her blood pressure dropped so low she truly thought she was not going to survive.
Matt arrived from overseas and was whisked from the airport to the hospital in time for the birth. Gabriel arrived safely and has turned out to be a sunny little soul who adds immeasurably to the family.
All this is to say: we fly out Wednesday to visit these little tykes and their parents and Hope’s Café will be suspended until our return in June. I took a hiatus when we moved to Montana but managed to get back to regular blogging when we got to town. So I will look forward to being back online in mid-June, doubtless full of stories of SebnGabe!
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: “Your children are your rainbows and your grandchildren are your pot of gold.”—Unknown
“Grandchildren: my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye.” – Unknown
“I wouldn’t change my grandchildren for the world. But I wish I could change the world for my grandchildren.”—Unknown