With great anticipation, we drove to Alberta to meet our new grandsons. Both our daughters from previous marriages gave birth nine days apart.
Being an eight-hour drive, Len and I stopped off at Radium for the night. Unbeknownst to us we were in for an unpleasant surprise by booking a motel room where we’d stayed before.
When we arrived after dark, two sketchy looking men smoking a bong greeted us. I shuddered to think what was in the glass pipe they shared. Was it crack cocaine or crystal meth? Regardless, it wasn’t good.
One guy said we needed to register at the nearby hotel chain, as it had bought this establishment out, and then we could come back. As the man spoke, his unkempt buddy wouldn’t make eye contact. I had a bad feeling, sensing we should run for our lives. As nonchalantly as I could feign, I mustered up the courage to speak.
“Thank you for the information,” I squeaked out.
It was all I could do not to scream, “Start the car, Len! Start the car!” As we peeled out of the parking lot, I noticed someone standing in the darkened office window. The street lights showed her silhouette. I wondered if they’d be lying in wait for us when we returned. If we stayed, I wouldn’t sleep a wink. The place was deserted except for those three creepy people.
Movie scenes from The Shining danced in my head as we drove up to the other inn.
“Humph, we just dodged that bullet”, I said emphatically.
To make matters worse, the front desk clerk couldn't find our reservation. The flustered man soon realized he'd booked us into this lodge. It was more expensive, but we jumped at the chance. I wasn't returning to that seedy motel, no matter what. We were grateful to have a safe place to stay.
The next morning, headed to Alberta, we stopped to photograph elk, mountain sheep, and a waterfall. Despite the temptation to take the wheel from Len and drive like a maniac, I managed to control myself in order to arrive in one piece to meet my first biological grandchild.
When we finally got there, my son-in-law asked if I wanted to hold the baby.
“Oh, absolutely!” was my response. It was wonderful to make the acquaintance of the little fellow. Like his mother, he was also born 10 days late. He was perfect and it was such an honour I thought I’d never have.
Thankfully, I hadn’t forgotten the fundamentals of caring for a newborn, as the last time I cradled his Mom was 37 years earlier. Mother and (grand)son arrived at the same hour, 5:30 a.m.and were only one ounce difference in weight.
There were so many similarities. While cuddling the wee one, I noticed he’d turn his head to follow his mom’s movements. There was such a strong bond between them. The infant had a doting father, too. He was gentle and soft-spoken with his little boy and attentive to his wife's needs as well. It was very touching to see.
Grandpa Len remarked a few months earlier that he noticed I’d experienced some kind of awakening when I found out I was going to be a grandmother. Something changed inside me. It was all so surreal when the baby finally arrived.
Prior to that, I had little interest in children as mine had long since flown the coop and this old hen didn’t make a fuss over other people's little chicks.
After a short interval, we were off to meet Len's newest grandchild. He was a sweetheart, and so was his two-year-old big brother. Len was a radiant grandpa and we cherished the experience. However, their baby developed some medical complications, so we ended up staying only for a short while so they could deal with that.
Although we were unfamiliar to their toddler, he still gave us a warm hug and a kiss goodbye. It was touching to be accepted as his grandma too.
After spending a week with my family, Len thought he’d have to pry my fingers off the house's door frame and carry me away kicking and screaming to the vehicle. It wasn’t that dramatic, but with heavy hearts we left our loved ones behind and headed back to the grind.
It turns out grandmotherhood does change a person. It is a rite of passage unlike anything I have ever known.
I wasn’t a typical mom, pulling up to my kids’ elementary school with the windows down on my 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix and AC/DC blasting on the stereo, embarrassing my daughter. Although times have changed and I’ve mellowed considerably I’m still a nonconformist.
Time will tell what this granny will do.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.