Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome Nathan!

On November 20, 2010, Nathan Daniel Schwartz joined our family; a son for Leanne and David, a brother for Sophie and a grandson for us!

Once again I was 500 miles away when Leanne called about noon to let me know that things were beginning to happen. A home birth was planned and after spending the morning experiencing contractions she felt confident that the birth would be sooner rather than later. I was so happy that it was Saturday...I wanted to be able to think about what was happening so far away and not be distracted by weekday concerns. Talking to her for about 20 minutes I realized that her contractions were coming fairly close together and I, too, felt that today would likely be the day Nathan would arrive. This time we knew that we were waiting for Nathan; Leanne and Davis had chosen to know the sex of the baby before his arrival.

Hanging up the phone I felt both excited and apprehensive. Leanne had had problems with sciatica during this pregnancy and I hoped it wouldn't cause difficulties. I hoped it would be a good experience for Sophie and that Leanne and David would be able to relax and focus on the birth, supported by their birthing team.

Over the next few hours I had a hard time settling...I couldn't focus on reading and, given the stormy day it was becoming, I was confined to the house. Eventually I pulled out some of my mom's old sewing things, as well as some of my grandmother's, and worked on sorting pins, needles, thread, and all sorts of sewing notions. Who knew I owned 27 thimbles!

As the afternoon progressed it became more and more stormy. Trevor, our son, was doing color commentary for the UC Davis football game on KDVS so I listened to him and the other announcers report on the rainy game. As it got later into the afternoon the storm became very intense and soon they were reporting lightning and thunder. A game delay was called and I could see and hear the wind and lightning and thunder out the back door. The intensity of it all, and the amount of time that had passed, made me feel certain that Nathan was making his arrival known! I sat and prayed, as I did when Sophie was being born, asking again for help and intercession from the women in my family who have gone before us, from women saints I feel drawn to, from St. Gerard, the patron saint of motherhood.  And when the call came almost an hour later I was not surprised to hear that the moment of Nathan's birth so closely matched the moment the intensity of the storm reached its peak.

The sweet little boy I have been lucky enough to visit twice already does not SEEM to have a stormy personality! On the contrary, he has been so calm and observant that he may have just wanted to make a big entrance. I am so excited to begin this part of the grandparent journey...welcome Nathan Daniel!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Granddaughter!

The Sweet Granddaughter and I spent a fair amount of time outside this weekend during our trip to San Diego for her first birthday. We practiced having gentle hands with flowers in her courtyard...with only a few pink marguerites sacrificed in the process...and I swear she can almost say flower! We walked up and down the front sidewalk so we could see more of the world...maybe as much as 50 feet..and she loved hearing the birds and would sign "bird" (her mom and dad have taught her baby signs and she knows quite a few!) Other things she really liked examining included pop-up sprinklers, drains in the landscaping, wood chips and iceplant. Just about every little thing was interesting and deserving of inspection...helping me to slow down and notice things I might not have otherwise seen. The least interesting things we saw were ants and a beetle. So maybe she won't be an entomologist...a dislike she comes by honestly from both mom and dad. So one possible career choice crossed off....eight million to go!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Sophie!

So the Nonna blog has not been as active as I had planned...I mean it's been a year and I've thought about posting/possible posts but it hasn't happened. The Sweet Granddaughter's Mommy has been so very good about recording things and so that was never the direction I thought this blog would take.
I think my plan was more along the lines of writing things Sophie might find interesting way down the line...or at least things that I would have liked to read about my Grandma's thoughts.
For instance...
I meant to write about sitting in my back garden 500 miles from the birthing process wishing I could manage to be there...I had so many thoughts that day...I had to wonder what my mom thought and went through on the days her daughters gave birth. I'm not even certain she wasn't there for my sisters' children's births given that they were within a few miles of her home. (Although she was gone by the time my younger sister had her second child.) Knowing that I was soon to be a grandmother made me once again wish I was able to ask my mom some questions...too bad I didn't know what those questions would be when she was still here. Was she happy with her role as grandmother? What were her greatest joys? What would she suggest I never do? What should I be certain to do? What, in short, does one do to be a good grandmother?
Waiting for phone calls with updates was beyond difficult...and I couldn't settle down and read or even lose myself working in the garden. So instead, at 5:30 when I was alone, I sat down at the patio table and started to pray. In my church book club we had recently begun reading Enduring Grace...a book about women mystics by Carol Flinders. We were ending our meetings by praying a litany of saints and so I found myself praying in that form...beginning with the women saints we had been reading as well as our name saints and other women saints I felt drawn to name and then including the women in our family who had passed away. I then included male saints who I felt drawn to name such as St. Gerard (patron saint of pregnant women). When I came to the end I started over...and over again when I finished the second time. I felt a very certain connection, one I couldn't begin to explain, both to God and the family that was coming into being so far away.
And, of course, at some point during this meditative experience I got the wonderful phone call announcing the arrival of Sophia Ann! (And you can ask all my friends...I knew she was a girl!)
So here we are...a year later. She has changed, as one would expect, incredibly since that first meeting at 5 days old. I can remember, with my own children, seeing them grow and develop each day and how I would say "Now they are really becoming such a personality! You can really see who they are now!" Of course, I didn't know I'd still be saying that about them all these years later! And so it is and will be with Sophie...she'll develop her personality, her beliefs and values will help her interpret the world, her abilities and gifts will become more clear, her joys and sorrows, successes and failures will help her grow into the person she's meant to be. I can't help but think I'm awfully lucky to be able to be a part of it all and I can't wait to see what the coming year will bring!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today many bloggers will be posting about the environment. I hope to read about some good ideas that I can work into my life...there is so much we can all do to help heal the earth. Reducing the amount of our personal contribution to the damage that is being done to the environment should be on everyone's mind. Ideas about cleaning products, garden chemicals, transportation, food choices and other daily activities that should be the result of thoughtful choices will hopefully abound today and I plan to check out as many as possible.
My small contribution is to ask that we consider what it is we want to ultimately leave to the children who are coming behind us. We need to think about the fact that we are teaching these children every moment by our examples...good and bad. We have the perfect opportunity to take these open minds and teach them to be able to see the beauty of open their eyes to what is around them and to give them the tools to live in the world in a way that is least harmful. All the things that we are thinking about, all the habits that we are working to change, all the choices we are working to make... we can make it easier for the children by having them grow up with the idea that we think about things, we consider the cost to the environment and we make a choice. Everyone who has contact with children...parents, grandparents, extended family, teachers, neighbors... we all need to to think about what example we are's good for the children, it's good for us, and above all it's good for the earth.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Journey Begins

April 23, journey into grandmothering begins. The Sweet Granddaughter has arrived and we make plane reservations to go meet her. There is a lot to think how my baby is now a mommy...San Diego is far away...should we buy stock in Southwest now? did we get to this stage in life so quickly?...what kind of grandparents will we be?...and of course, what will the Sweet Granddaughter call me? I've heard a multitude of 'Grandma' names and most of them don't appeal to me. I'd be happy with 'Grandma' itself but there are two of us! There must be a way to differentiate. Having spent the last few years attempting to learn at least a little Italian, originally in preparation for a trip to the land of my own grandparents, (a wonderful experience that, however, required minimal Italian) I settle on the Italian word for grandma...nonna. So that is my choice...we'll have to see what the Sweet Granddaughter thinks of a few months!