I think yesterday’s blog was too long, so I’ll try to limit my ramblings to under a thousand words, pithy or otherwise.
Picking up the thoughts from where I left off yesterday, 13 years on Edin Pit, 13 on Noake. Both terrific, fun neighbourhoods. One great ‘hood like that would have been very cool, but to stumble onto two was just amazing. So it was with some trepidation that we put the for sale sign up and moved to yet another foreign country: NORTH. As scary as EAST was when we were living in the West end, North was an altogether new creature. We had travelled through the towns North of the GTA on our way to cottages and baseball tournaments, but the thought of actually living there was daunting. But an event had come along in our lives and, well…
I knew something was up that day when Jefferson and his girlfriend, with whom he had been living (North!!!!) the past two years, came for dinner, but instead of the usual casual arrival and instant search for food, they sat us down in the family room and offered to get me a drink. A large drink. First thought, of course, someone has had an accident, someone has died…
Nope. Someone was making me a grandmother. First thought was a whine. I wasn’t even 50 yet. That had been a standing joke of sorts, that I didn’t want to be grandmother before I turned 50. *snort* I’m not sure what they thought my reaction would be, but I didn’t yell or faint or smack him upside the head. I thought I took it rather well…after the second drink. After the third I think it sunk in…in a good way…and after that we all just got excited. It was fun shopping for baby stuff. Fun planning showers. I did remind them, but only once, and very casually in passing, that it was sort of normal in an old fashioned way, to be married first before you had kids, but that was just a brief blip in an otherwise smooth transition from being 47, author, wife, mother…to being a 48yr old grandmother. WTF, I already had the gray hair.
Austin was, of course, the cutest most gorgeous baby in the planet. And my son, of course, chose the very day the DIL went into the hospital to call me in a panic and tell me *someone* had to drive to downtown Toronto, to the jewellers, and pick up the engagement ring because yes, he wanted to propose to her before the baby was born. Oooookay. That someone of course was ME, who has never ever enjoyed driving into the city. Carol Stacey was up from New York not too many months prior to the whole birthing event, and was scouting out locations in downtown for holding the Romantic Times Convention. Since she stayed with me, I had to gird my loins and drive her around to the various hotels, and if anyone wants to verify how well I handled that, just ask Carol. I’m sure she still has nightmares. I mean, it’s not me. I’m a great driver, my dad the cop made sure of that. It’s the OTHER lunatics on the road who drive me crazy.
So there I was, barreling into downtown Toronto, which was an hour south of Ajax, fighting morning traffic to get to the jeweller, pick up the ring, PAY for the ring (he neglected to tell me that little tidbit at the time) then fight the city traffic to get out again, drive the hour north back home, then a further hour north to get to Newmarket, and all of this knowing my grandson was pushing his way out into the world and I would likely miss the big event because there was a backup of cars on the 404 from everyone slowing down to watch some 80yr old take a leak at the side of the road.
But I got there finally…rushed into the hospital, rushed to the maternity ward, got stopped by the nurse and nearly knocked her over yelling that I was going to be a grandmother and no one was getting in my way. Finally fought my way to the room, panicked and sweaty (and I never sweat) as if I had run two marathons back to back…blew into the room like a mini hurricane only to see the two of them chatting away. Oh, hi mom.
Oh, hi mom?
Imelda (so nick-named because of her penchant for shoes) had been in labour six hours by then and nothing. Baby was stubborn. He was stubborn for another 12 hours or so before the doctors finally convinced her that he was too big to come out the usual way and they needed to do a C section. By then, of course, she was in a head to head race (no pun intended) with another woman in labour with twins. And of course, the other woman needed to be rushed for a C section at exactly the same time. The memory fogs somewhat (hey, it’s a countdown, remember, to a large number) as to why the hospital was short staffed that night, but it was, and there was only one doctor and one team of nurses on duty. Austin was delivered, got to see my son crying and being all happy and shocked and amazed that he was holding a new life in his arms. Got to video it all too, not the actual delivery, but right up to when they closed the OR doors and again when Jefferson emerged holding his son. But then a strange thing happened. Poor Imelda was abandoned on the table while the doc and nurses rushed across the hall to deliver the twins. Imelda’s mom and I were allowed into the OR to see her, but I could tell by the look on Diane’s face that an explosion was imminent, so we ended up cleaning her up and bundling her in warm blankets so she didn’t shiver herself off the table waiting for the other nurses to come back.
So there we were, new grandparents, with a grandson we had to drive an hour to visit with. We lasted just over a year doing the back and forth thing, but in a way it was kind of good because most times, if the parental units had to go somewhere (they were/are master bowlers and played in a lot of tournaments), they dropped him off on a Friday and picked him up on Sunday, so we got to have the little munchkin for a lot of weekends. Even so, when that following spring rolled around and we took a drive up to watch Jefferson play baseball…Imelda and I noticed a new housing development going in across the street from the park. The car veered in and, after hoisting her through an open window, we got inside the model suite and looked at the plans for the twelve new houses being built on a lovely little cul de sac, forest behind it, almost an acre of land for each yard.
We ran over to the ball diamond all excited, dragged the guys back to have a look and, within a week, had come back during proper sales hours and plonked down a deposit to purchase.
The sign went up on Noake on a Thursday and it was sold by Monday. We moved North the following February, in the middle of a blizzard, onto a street that had one house…ours…and the two model homes, both vacant. Construction on the other houses didn’t start until the summer, so for four interesting months we were the only ones on the street. The isolation was…interesting. Creepy at times, and not because it was isolated, but because it was so QUIET. Noake was about a mile away from a busy highway, but the noise still managed to hang over the neighbourhood, even though, while we were there, we never noticed it. But moving NORTH, to God’s country, where there were no highways, and the little hamlet we lived in had an indie grocery store and a historic temple to mark it’s location. Mail had to picked up at the local post office, there was no delivery. And when I walked into the office for the first time, the farmers stopped talking, turned and stared, and the girl behind the counter actually said: oh, you must be the new people.