Friday, September 19, 2014

Eli and Oma Rose: They share a grand day

      What a beautiful baby and what a day to arrive.
      Sept. 19 -- my mother's birthdate. Rose ... and now Eli. It must be a good omen.
      Great Oma Rose -- and Great Opa Louis -- would have been so proud.
      We are. This is the fourth grandchild for Beatrice and me, and probably our last. You never know.
      You will understand, I'm sure, that I have been near tears all day. Didn't realize I could still get this nervous. I was more teary this morning that 35 years ago when Bea delivered Rachel.
Rachel and her son, Eli Smith.
       That was our little girl -- now a grown woman -- delivering for the second time. Go Rachel. And she did beautifully; she was so much more prepared and so much more relaxed that when Josephine became our first grandchild almost seven years ago.
       Welcome to our new prince, Eli Russell Smith, who was born at 11:17 a.m. as the latest member of the Van Thyn family.
        He went the distance, the full nine months (Josie was three weeks early). We've been here in Knoxville all week, anxiously waiting and trying to help out and support Rachel and Russell.
        I say unequivocally that he is as beautiful as Josie -- born in this same hospital -- and his cousins Jacob, 5, and Kaden, 3 -- the Key boys, our son Jason's sons.
        Eli is 7 pounds, 1 ounce, 20 inches tall, with what Rachel says is going to be dark hair -- just like Russell's. We got our first look when Rachel posted a Facebook photo, about 15 minutes after he was born. She had been posting almost all during the process -- until the pushing phase -- and, wow, suddenly there he was on my phone.
        A few moments later, we headed down to the hospital room. Here was one of those exciting, thrilling moments you don't ever want to forget. I was practically jumping.
        Russell got a high five, and we would have hugged Rachel, but she was holding the baby, resting him on her right side, and he was cooing, content. He'd already nursed. Russell said he came out screaming, but when they put him under the heat lamp, he got quiet.
        My first observation: Gosh, he looks a lot like Josie did. Rachel agrees.
        He was screaming again a few minutes later when he was given his first bath. But, boy, even then he was so cute. Back under the heat lamp moments later, he was peaceful, stretching and trying out his new surroundings.
        And we were just floating.
        As I write this, it's "lullaby time" for a couple of hours at the hospital. When visiting hours resume, Josie will get her first look at Mr. Eli. Can't wait for that.
        This morning we took Josie -- delightful, busy, brainy and zany -- to school; she was going on a first-grade field trip. She knows a baby brother will be coming to the only home she's known in a day or two. We think she's ready -- she will be out of the spotlight for a while -- but it was funny to see her reaction when people mentioned the baby in the past week.
        "Are you excited about the baby, Josie?"
        Eye roll (learned it from her mother). "Yes," and then, "Why does everyone keep asking me that?" (That scene played out several times.)
        Eli is the fifth great grandchild of my parents. Good chance more will come from my sister Elsa's three kids.
         He is also the latest addition to the extended Shaw family, branched out from Bea's large group of relatives originally based in Jamestown, La. Bea had three siblings, so her parents -- Howard and Laura Alice Shaw -- had 13 grandchildren, and let's see, it's now 19 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Hope I got that right.
         Eli is the second grandchild for Dr. Joe and Laughlin Smith. Good chance they'll have more;  Russell has two younger brothers.
         Just last night, Russell -- a radio sports-talk host -- made a guest appearance on one of the local TV sports news shows. Took his mind off what we knew was going to happen this morning.
         Neither Russell nor Rachel have slept well this week; the waiting was difficult, the anxiety great. Granny Bea and Opa haven't rested that well, either.
         But this is the great reward. The process played out much smoother than we had thought it might. Sure, our daughter was a bit apprehensive, thinking the delivery process would be as extended as last time; that was an all-day ordeal. But she did beautifully, and so did Eli.
         "My view. He's perfect! Looks like his sister when he's sleeping," Rachel wrote on a closeup shot of him, one of the 27 photos (so far) she's put on the Eli album on Facebook.
         He's perfect from our view, too. We have such hopes for him; we do for all our grandchildren. It's only natural, isn't it?
         Sure, we wish we lived closer. How many times did my mother express that thought in her final years? But with Facebook and Facetime, we are going to see plenty of our newest little boy.
         Any day would have been good, and good health is such a blessing, but to have him born on Sept. 19, oh, my mother would have been so pleased.
          We are blessed, we are lucky, and we are grateful. And so, so happy.


  1. From Elsa Van Thyn: As much as Oma Ro loved birthdays, she would have been more than thrilled that Eli was born today. And just maybe, she had something to do with the choice of Sept. 19th. This side of the Van Thyn clan is thrilled with the addition of Eli.

  2. From Stephana Snyder Dean: The perfect day for a wonderful new son and grandson to be born. September 19th is a most special day. (Note: Her mother's birthday also was Sept. 19.)

  3. From Hollye-Faye Maples: Such a touching blog post. I think of your sweet mother almost daily. You've got a really beautiful family.

  4. From Joyce Craft Bridges: I know your heart is pounding with excitement, joy, and awe! Enjoy the grandson and relish being a grandparent.

  5. From Sandi Tison Atkinson: Loved the blog today. Eli Russell is adorable and Rachel looks fantastic for just having given birth. Mazel tov!

  6. From Carolyn Lindsay Blaikie: So happy for all of you to share these wonderful days and make these special memories.

  7. From Alice Shaw Woodard: When little Eli was born we were talking about grandparents. Gregory said, "What about that guy with the grey hair?" I asked, "What guy with the grey hair?" He said, "You know; the one with the cats under the bed." I thought for a while and then it hit me, "Oh, you mean Uncle Nico. Yes, he is a grandfather, but not yours. In fact he just had a new grandbaby today, little Eli." What a coincidence that he remembered you on the same day. Congrats to all of you.

  8. From Loretta Geneux: What a wonderful and blessed feeling of family. Words can not fully describe the joy of being a grandparent. Congrats and love to all.