Last week I turned 36, and amongst a day of lovely phone calls, online messages, cuddles and presents (including the flowers and balloon above) I had an intriguing email from my grandmother, saying “Did I ever tell you how I first heard the news of your birth?”
I thought I’d heard this story many times before – and I had heard the short version – but Grandma told me so much more. It was such a lovely feeling knowing how the ripples of that event touched the people in my life.
Grandma was studying at teacher’s college when I was born. As the day of my due date approached, she began taking an overnight bag with her to college in case she had to leave in a hurry to meet her first grandchild.
Planning to induce mum on my due date, she was in hospital the night before so as to be ready bright and early the next morning (not sure why this was done, as the same hospital – Gosford – was happy for me to be 11 and nine days overdue with Noah and Ethan respectively). And it was lucky she was there already, because she went into labour early on December 3 and had me at just before 7am, less than two hours later.
Dad was on his way to the hospital while all this was going on and arrived in time to welcome me into the world. This meant by the time all the newborn checks were over, Grandma was already at college and in her first lecture when Dad told my grandfather the news. Pa then set about telling his wife and remembered the name of one of her lecturers who offered to find her to pass on the news.
Grandma told me her news-bearing lecturer came into her second class, asked the current lecturer if he could make an announcement and then announced she was a grandmother! She finished the day’s classes, jumped on the train from Sydney to the Central Coast and met Dad at the station, eager to see her new granddaughter the next day.
“You were so new,” she told me last week, remembering our first meeting. Grandma then told me about a photo of me, Mum, her and her mother, who I called “Brisbane Grandma” – four generations of our family’s first-born females (which I have now stopped by having two boys). I haven’t seen that photo for years, but I remember it well.
So I became a topic of conversation with Grandma’s classmates for years to come.