July 8, 2014

After seven grandsons, here comes Stella

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” 
--Sam Levenson

Wyatt Boyd Wilson
Thomas Hayes Wilson
William Alan NeSmith Jr.
Henry Michael Wilson
Samuel Fenn NeSmith
Henry Bayard NeSmith
Lamar NeSmith Wilson
Stella Hamilton NeSmith
Wait a minute.  
     Did I just type Stella and not Steve?  After a roll call of seven grandsons, am I dreaming there was a pink bow on the mailbox?  No, I’m not dreaming.  Yes, there’s a pink bow,  one announcing the arrival of our first granddaughter—Stella Hamilton NeSmith.
...with my seven grandsons earlier this year.
     With today’s medical technology, expectant parents can peek around the corner and see whether to paint the nursery pink or blue or both.  Eric and Connell embrace all the new whiz gadgetry, but they’re old-school when it comes to additions to their family.  With Bayard and Stella, they were willing to accept the surprise and joy of whichever gender arrived.
     In the countdown to June 25th, strangers and family alike joined in the boy-girl speculation.  Some would say, “Oh, look at the way she’s carrying that baby.  It has to be a girl.”  Others would chime in:      “But there have been seven boys.  Odds are it’s another boy.”  And then someone would harp: “That just means the odds are in favor of a girl this time.”
     In the delivery room, even the doctor joined the drama.  When he presented the newborn to Eric, he said, “Dad, tell us.  Is it a boy or girl?”  Minutes later—when he was sure mom and baby were OK—Eric walked into the waiting room to make the announcement to grandparents.  I reached for my sunglasses.  His 1,000-watt grin overpowered the overhead fluorescent lights.
     In his hands, Eric was shuffling two cards—one pink, one blue.  He wanted us to guess which one told the story.  I said,     “Surprise:  twins—a boy and a girl!”   
     “Oh, no,” he said, raising the pink card.  Grandmothers squealed and welcomed the arrival of Stella Hamilton NeSmith—family names honoring Connell’s maternal and paternal grandmothers.
     Imagine, a girl. It’s been 38 years since a girl was born into our family. 

     Imagine 16 years from now, when boys start calling on Stella.  With a big brother and six boy cousins to stand guard, her suitors better be gentlemen, or else.  Wyatt, Hayes, William, Henry, Fenn, Bayard and Smith have already crowned Stella as a princess.   As she grows more beautiful each day—and as the boys get stronger—I am sure they’ll lift her royal pedestal higher and higher.   I hope that I’m around to watch that drama as it unfolds.  
     Imagine, a girl.
Stella Hamilton NeSmith
     I dreamed about a pink bow, but I would have celebrated another blue one, too.  As a grandparent, you can’t lose.  But when Eric handed me Stella to hold for the first time, I could hear the echo of my friends’—especially the grandfathers’—admonitions.  “Just you wait and see,” they warned.  “That first granddaughter will melt your heart.”

     Cradling 7 pounds and 10 ounces of brunette beauty, I looked down at a sleeping Stella and whispered,   “Those old guys are right.”  Sam Levenson is right, too: “The simplest toy, one which even the youngest can operate, is called a grandparent.”  Seven grandsons have already proven that with me.  And now comes Stella’s turn to give me a spin.  And I’ll be loving every moment.