Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Brand New Person

When we were teenagers, my sister and I were privileged to be able to usher on a regular basis at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. There we saw everything from the Metropolitan Opera to Bobby Sherman to Broadway Shows to symphony concerts and instrumentalists like pianist Van Cliburn and cellist Pablo Casals - all for free, of course. What a golden opportunity for cultural education! My sister and I owe unending gratitude to our dad for driving us downtown and picking us up, many times at midnight when he had to get up early for work the next day. He never complained, because he realized it was an experience for us that he could never have afforded to give us on his own.

Some of the Broadway shows were so enjoyable that I almost memorized the whole script. When you sit through 8 performances of a musical, you retain a lot. One of my favorites was "I Do! I Do!" with the incredible Mary Martin and Robert Preston. It's hard to believe, but the whole play consists of just those two actors, who at the beginning pose as two newlyweds, bright-eyed and naively optimistic about what marriage was going to be, and it takes us through their married lives, their fights, their midlife crises, their kids being born, and the most beautiful song near the end, where they look back over their marriage with fondness, singing the poignant duet "My Cup Overfloweth with Love."

Decades later, I still remember many of the lyrics, and one particular song has special meaning for me this week. It's called, "Love Isn't Everything," and it talks about the excitement of bringing home a new baby into the family. The father sings, "At one minute after 2 in the morning, 6 hours following my wife's confinement, early on the day of January 12, in room 22 of the new City Hospital....A BRAND NEW PERSON SUDDENLY WAS, WHO NEVER USED TO BE! He weighed 6 pounds and 14 ounces and we named him after me! A son! A son! A son!....." and of course, reality sets in and the mom sings the chorus, "Love isn't everything...It cannot buy the pills, or pay the doctor bills...Love cannot heat the house, or warm the baby's formula when he starts crying....Love isn't everything...It cannot buy a new supply of fresh dry diapers! Love keeps us on the run, but when it's said and done, love is what makes it kind of fun, kind of fun, kind of fun, kind of fun!" Later in the skit, Mary Martin has another baby, a girl this time, and Robert Preston continues the "reality" chorus, singing, "Love isn't everything...It cannot hire a nurse or fill an empty purse...Love cannot pay for milk or put the satin ruffles on her party dresses...It cannot sign the check for her piano lessons....Love keeps us on the run, but when it's said and done, love is what makes it kind of fun, kind of fun, kind of fun, kind of fun!" At the end of the song, they both sing together: "Love keeps you on the go, but when you're feeling low, love is what keeps you a'hummin', when all the bills keep a'comin', love is what makes it sorta fun!!!"

I've been singing that song all week, because on Tuesday morning, we will welcome by C-section our third grandchild, who is also our first male grandchild and our son's first child, and suddenly the world has changed for us, for the other set of grandparents, for aunt Rachel and uncle Chris, for uncles and aunts and great-aunts and great-uncles and cousins on both sides of the family, because there will be a new entry into the annals of human history. He will be Joshua Edward, born into a family chock full of love, and, of course, that's what "keeps you a'hummin when all the bills keep a'comin."

That's the experience of every couple starting a new family. So my message to our wonderful son and fantastic daughter-in-law is this: The love gets you through all the changes and anxiety and fears and additional expenses - and the feeling of holding your newborn baby, the "brand new person" who "suddenly was, who never used to be," is totally, utterly, completely worth it. Of course, they don't need to hear it from me. They'll find out for themselves on Tuesday morning. And Ed and I are so blessed to be able to share in their happiness.

I can't wait to see and hold you, precious Josh! Love, Grammy


Cuidado said...

When it comes to a new baby, love is everything. Here's a beautiful song to say just that:

I can't wait to see my new grandchild in January. my other two are here on vacation now. i haven't seen them in 16 months.

Carol Tiffin James said...

Thanks for the link! Grandparents everywhere share a special bond. Even though it's my third grandbaby, it's as if it's my first - each one is unique and the birth just as miraculous as the one(s) before and after!