i have dubbed her teensy

By Deb Baer Becker
Woman Newspapers

I’d made it home after a marathon travel day with the Hubster; bad weather, rerouted flights, and sprinting between airport gates. We’d missed our connecting flight in Chicago. We huddled together amid the congestion between concourses C and D to look at our phones, searching for a another flight.

People say travel is not what it used to be, and I say travel is exactly what it used to be - in the Middle Ages.

But, we made it home, and although I desperately needed sleep, my daughter Kay was on her way over to pick up her dog, Cricket, who had been at our house. I dozed on the sofa with the dogs snuggled against me. The Hubster was already asleep in our bedroom.  

I heard Kay’s car pull up, and she breezed in, said, “Hi Mom,” and leaned down to pet the dogs who danced around her feet.

I hugged her, said, “Missed you, Pud,” (my baby name for her.) She had the sweetest little pudding cheeks when she was an infant.  It’s my way of reminding this all-grown-up-lady that she’s my baby always and forever.

“I missed you, too, Mom,” she said, and hugged my neck.

Kay’s husband Adam walked in, too. “Where’s your Hubster?” he asked and chuckled.

I handed Adam Cricket’s leash and said, “He’s already sleeping, but I’ll tell him you two kiddos were here.”

Instead of heading out the door, the two of them sat down on the sofa.  Kay held a small box wrapped in ribbon. She said, “Mom, we have a gift for you and Dad, and we really want to give it to you tonight.”

I blinked. “A gift. Why?” I stammered, feeling that familiar mental fog.  Was it our anniversary? No. I worried for the ten-thousandth time about early dementia. “Your father is sleeping, ” I pleaded. “We had an awful day. United made us go to Cleveland for God’s sake!”

“Mom!” Kay said. Why were these two kids looking so earnest, and what’s with the goofy smiles? “We need to give you and Dad this gift now. Adam’s going out of town for two weeks, and then you and Dad are gone - it will be another month until we are all together again.”

OK. I’d forgotten about Adam’s traveling and yes, we had that California trip.

I tried again. “Kay, while I appreciate the gift, your father is sleeping like Lazarus before Jesus showed up.

Then Kay’s little pudding cheeks bloomed bright pink. “Mom!!! If you don’t share this moment with Dad, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life!” and then she got teary.  

I had no words. I looked to Adam for direction but he just sat there with that goofy look.

“You know your Dad will come out here in his boxers,” I said as I sighed and headed to the bedroom.

“Honey,” I said, my face near his as he woke from what looked like a coma, and then looked startled.  “Nothing’s wrong,” I said, “Kay and Adam are here and really want to give us a gift, maybe a new TV remote or something.” I shrugged my shoulders, looked at my feet and walked back to the living room.  

The Hubster entered the room - wearing his jeans, thank God - and he actually managed a smile and a hug for Kay and Adam before he sat down next to me.  

Kay looked so relieved. She handed me the present.  

Oh boy, I thought. I pulled the Christmas paper and ribbon away, opened the lid. Nestled inside white tissue paper I saw three tiny white newborn onesies, a couple of pacifiers, and a little sign: GRANDPARENTS’ STARTER KIT.  

I looked up at my daughter through happy tears with the kind of profound joy I haven’t felt since I first held this lovely Momma-to-be, my darling baby girl, in my arms not so very long ago.  

Although our little grand babe won’t be here until mid-June, I have dubbed her Teensy, my special baby name for the sweetest little pudding-cheeked granddaughter the world will ever see.

Look out, American Express, Mimi is just getting started.