I'll admit it. I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of becoming a grandmother.
I don't know that any woman with any sense of vanity is, really. Me? A gray-haired old Granny? Hell no.
But then we start imagining all the fun we can have, all the cute clothes we can buy, all those sweet baby kisses and hugs, all the sugar-coated sticky-fingered outings we can go on, followed by quick dropoffs back to their parents (followed in turn by a long, long nap) and we get excited.
A grandparent. OK. I can handle that. Just don't call me "Granny." That was my Granny's name. That's my sister's name.
That's where I am.
My stepson, who became "my" kid when he was 9 years old, and his wife whom we've known forever , announced back in the spring that we were going to be grandparents. My husband was thrilled that he was going to be a grandfather. I was going to be a step-grandmother.
No, a Lolo -- which is what I already am to my stepchildren, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews and even one of my bosses. Lolo.
But we couldn't tell anyone.
As hard as it was for this reporter and social media specialist to do, I dutifully kept their secret from everyone except my closest family members. And my best friend. And my nail technician.
As hard as it was for the other grandparents -- my husband, his ex-wife and our very good friends the in-laws -- they too kept the secret, even long after it is traditionally necessary.
It was a very quiet pregnancy, which was fine by this not-ready-to-be-a-Granny. But there was a date circled on the calendar.
Then "it" became a "she."
Then "she" became Parker.
And that's about when those ideas about cute baby outfits and fun trips to the zoo and Sunday afternoons in my swimming pool began to form. And saying, "I'm about to be a grandmother," became a little easier. Every time.
And then came November, and a Sunday afternoon shower, for which I dug out some of my own baby girl's special things -- the first blanket I fell in love with and bought for my "possibility" of a child when we were waiting to adopt, and one of her favorite books after she finally came.
And then I ordered some cute little sports-themed onesies for this granddaughter-to-be of a high school baseball coach and daughter-to-be of a high school football coach, and a die-hard LSU and Saints fan. And a football-themed baby bunting.
Oh, I wasn't the only one. One of the other grandmothers coincidentally bought the same outfit, with shoes to match!
And then came December and Christmas shopping. And a beautiful Cinderella carriage piggy bank I just HAD to have, and a personalized Christmas ornament with "Parker" etched on the front. All beautifully wrapped under my tree for the few remaining days until Christmas and then her December 28th due date.
And, honestly, I couldn't wait to see Daniel become a dad. I had seen him be such a great big brother to his baby sister. He was 17 when she was born and the big galoot came in every afternoon after school to scoop her up and toss her around. She adored him, and he her.
"He's going to be a great dad," I said.
And then came the phone call.
My stepson, in hysterics, telling his father something was wrong. They couldn't find a heartbeat. They were on the way to the hospital. Come.
Then my husband peeling out of the driveway.
I stayed home with my 10-year-old daughter, the aunt-to-be, who had spent the last weekend with her brother and sister-in-law while we went out of town for a romantic anniversary weekend. Who had hoped all weekend, to feel the baby kick, but never got to.
I waited for her to get out of the shower, to tell her we had to go to the hospital for Bubby. But when she got all excited, I had to sit her down and tell her what was really happening. She didn't want to go. I didn't want to make her.
So we stayed home, and waited for news, while the rest of the family gathered in the waiting room, waiting for the inevitable.
Parker Anniston Luquet was born December 22, 2011 at 11:22 a.m., perfect in every way except that she never got to take a breath. The very cord that gave her life for the last eight months took it from her sometime in the final days.
Her parents and grandparents and aunts got to see her, to hold her, to tell her how much they loved her. They shed a million tears over her.
I, the step-grandmother, did not. I had to tend to my own baby girl, who wanted to know if there still would be a Christmas this year, and what would we do with her presents? We baked cookies with her friends. Then I hid in the kitchen and sobbed.
Yes, this was my stepson's child. My step-daughter-in-law's child. My husband's grandchild. And also mine.
Our stepchildren are just our children. There is no such thing as step-grief. Or step-pain. It all hurts just the same.
Believe me. I know.
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