Friday, December 23, 2011

Parker



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.

Was.

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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23 comments:

  1. Beautiful. I'm going get some kleenex now. :( My heart just aches & aches for all of you so very much.

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  2. I'm very sorry for your loss, Lori. I cannot imagine the heartache your family is going through. My thoughts are with you all.

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  3. Totally crying right now, Lori. As a stepmom, I can feel that part of the pain, but not having lost something so dear as a grandbaby...I can't imagine. I am so very sorry...for all of you. The thought that you didn't get that moment with Parker is heart-breaking even though I understand you were with your own girl. Just so, so hard. (((hugs))) This is so beautifully written. Thinking of you all and sending love.

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  4. Oh my goodness, this is so powerfully sad and goes straight to my very core for you, and for your family. I can honestly say, as the daughter of my own mother who nearly suffered a similar fate with my own babies, I have only glimpsed what you have faced as a grandma as a Lolo and as a rock in your family. Many hugs to you for sharing this, for writing this, and for all you have been through.

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  5. My two oldest children are "steps," but we don't have "steps" in our family. We never use the word. They are all my kids and I am "Dad" to all of them.

    I have an idea how this feels. I was eight when this same thing happened to my mother and the grief that overtook the family was enormous.

    My prayers are with you and yours.

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  6. That is heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your family's loss.

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  7. Terribly sad. I'm so sorry for you and your whole family. Wishing you love, strength and patience during this trying time.

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  8. I'm so sorry for you and your family, Lori. My deepest condolences.

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  9. Oh my, how heartbreaking. I can feel your pain in this, but can only imagine theirs. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  10. I'm so, so sorry for your whole family, especially your daughter in law. I can't imagine carrying a child until the very end and not being able to bring her home. My heart hurts for you.

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  11. Thanks to all for reading. And for the lovely comments. It's just so shocking, so random. These are tough times. But we are a strong, loving family and we will get through it all together.

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  12. I simply don't know what to say/write... 12/22 is my birthday. I can not imagine such a loss. For you, for them... sending a prayer.

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  13. I'm so, so, so sorry for your loss, for your family's loss. Rest in peace, Parker.

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  14. Oh Gawd. What wretched pain. All I can say is what everyone is saying, I'm so very sorry! Why do these things happen? I hope writing this out was helpful in some small way. (((HUGS)))

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  15. I have never lost a child, but I have a friend who has. I have seen the impact of the loss and know it is not easy. My thoughts are with you....

    This is also very well and beautifully written.

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  16. Lori, bless you for this. It just as hard on the Grannys to be as it is on the parents. I am a baby loss momma - two back to back miscarriages. This last one my mother-in-law had bought shirts and everything. Your post was so lovely - thank you!

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  17. My deepest sympathy to all of you. Your words were so beautifully written and this story of loss is so very sad. May God comfort you all.

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  18. The most indelible image of my life will be the giant of a man carrying the hopes and dreams of our entire family in a teeny, tiny white box that was as light as a feather. My step-granddaughter has been laid to rest. The family is at peace. I thank you all for visiting and for taking the time to leave your messages. God bless.

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  19. I have no words. I'm so sorry for your family's loss... heartbreaking.

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  20. I'm so sorry for your loss. Those words feel so inadequate but they're all I have to offer other than prayers.

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  21. I'm so terribly sorry...there are just no words that can eloquently say it well...how much my heart ached when I read this.

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  22. Some dear friends of mine experienced the same exact thing in 2010. It was and still is heartbreaking and I am so sorry for your loss.

    In a weird twist of life, they became accidentally pregnant three months after their loss and recently gave birth to a beautiful and perfectly healthy baby girl. She could never have replaced the child they lost, but she has done wonders to heal us all.

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  23. It just occurred to me that I should write an update to this post. My stepson and daughter-in-law are now the very proud parents, and I am a very proud step-grandmother, to a perfectly beautiful baby girl named Robi. She was born in April of 2013. She is cute as a button and trying very hard to say, "Lolo."

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