September 7, 2014
There are days you just want to hang onto, remembering every detail. Last Sunday was one such day. Because memories fade and details get fuzzy over time, I’m creating a record for myself and for Samuel, my new grandson, who was born on that day. And since saving time in a bottle isn’t feasible, saving time on the Internet will have to do.
The Place: Syracuse, New York. Visiting our daughter and her family to celebrate our grandson’s first birthday.
The Day: Sunday, a beautiful morning. Cerulean sky dotted with white puffy clouds.
Plans for the day: pancakes, picking apples, and playing with the grandchildren. A day for trying new things and savoring the fruits of our labor– with promises of apple pie for dessert that evening.
And then: after the pancakes and before the apples, we got word from the parents-to-be back in Portland informing us that their baby would be born soon. I believe I responded to everything my son told me with “Omigosh!” I must’ve said it three times in a row. Sooner than we expected, but when it’s time, it’s time. A baby, to be born today.
The morning proceeded as planned: off we went to the apple farm. On the drive, I couldn’t stop thinking about the baby’s arrival. How long until this newest member of the family appeared? Girl or boy? Names? So many unanswered questions that would be answered soon. But when?
At the apple farm: we greeted the chickens and the goats, who all seemed eager to see us. Humans=food, after all. My granddaughter got her face painted with a fetching black mustache and we hopped on a wagon for a hay ride through the orchard, through the pumpkin patch, and right to the beginning of the corn maze.
The corn maze turned out to be kind of a bust–we didn’t get very far before thirst and the promise of apple cider doughnuts lured us away from the tall stalks. We turned back and walked among the pumpkins for photo opps.
The goats and chickens were still hungry, so we took turns feeding them. Some of us were braver than others when it came to having a goat lick the pellets from the palms of our hands.
Apple slingshot? Sure, why not give it a try? Put the apple in a sling attached to giant rubber bands and let it fly–the targets were three barrels set in a field. No bull’s eye for us, but fun anyway. And there was a bazooka-like contraption, to be loaded with apple ammo. Press the big red button and launch your apple into the air.
Had to buy some snacks and apple cider doughnuts, because there we were and it seemed like the thing to do. Cold drinks and sugary treats: all part of the experience.
Picking apples, finally: down the designated row, we twisted and lifted the fruit, and started filling a large canvas bag. The one-year old crawled under the trees and examined the fallen fruit. Happy boy in the grass, surrounded by apples to pick up and drop.
With our bag full at last, we packed up our apples and other snacks, and drove back to Syracuse. A couple of hours since that phone call. How much longer?
In the kitchen, pie preparation gets underway. The littlest one takes a nap. The rest of us read, go for a run, or play.
And then. . .Ding! Texts on all our phones: a picture of the new mother and her just-born son, with his name and weight, and the declaration: He’s perfect.
The baby is named after a great-grandfather and a father. A touching and thoughtful gesture–and a real surprise, almost. On the way to pick apples, I wondered silently: if it’s a boy, would they name him Samuel after my dad? Just a fleeting thought I didn’t share with anyone. But the fact of it made me smile.
That night, we had a lovely dinner in my daughter and son-in-law’s new home. The apple pie, full of the sweet/tart fruit we’d picked just hours before, was perfect.
In the middle of reading my granddaughter a bedtime story, my phone rang. The only person I’d interrupt a story for was calling: baby Sam’s daddy. We put him on speaker so we could all hear him and shout our congratulations and questions. Our daughter-in-law told us she was feeling full of adrenaline and exhausted at the same time, just like every new mother does.
As I drifted off to sleep later that night, I went over the events of the day. I tried to remember what our son said, his exact words. Instead, I just remember the feeling of excitement, pride, relief–and love, of course.
We’ll have to wait a while to meet this little fellow, but someday, I’ll be able to tell him the wonderful story about how we picked apples the day he was born, and how the Harvest Moon shone the brightest that night.
Baby Sam: Welcome to the world. This day belongs to you.