An amazing gift
I am in the final hours of an amazing gift. Since Wednesday just after lunch we have been taking care of Frankie our number five grandchild. Number five in birth order only. They are all number one in my heart. Since I waited nine years for the first one, I was so love struck I thought I would never be able to love another one as much. Wrong. After LoLo arrived in July of 2011, we lost Elijah six months into the pregnancy in August of the same year. We still think about him every day. Then Kaso arrived in July 2012. Jenna showed up in August 2014. Coco entered the love craziness in July 2015.
Departure and arrival times change
Frankie had to find a way to make a grand entrance. She did. She was due in August 2016. I was boarding a plane at Dulles Airport on Saturday July 16, departing for Malawi, Africa, for two weeks. Plenty of time to return on the 31st and be here for Frankie’s projected arrival date of August 20. As I was looking for my seat number I got a call from my husband Drew. Anne was on her way to the hospital. It looked like Frankie was showing up early. I turned around and headed out of the plane and back up the jetway.
I tell people this story all the time and they say, “How could you do that?! They don’t let people off planes once boarding begins.” They let me off! Maybe it was the look on my face. Maybe it was my loud and firm proclamation that I had a family emergency. Who knows? I de-boarded without being dragged or handcuffed. Once off, a wonderfully helpful United employee found me a flight back to LA less than an hour later. I made it to LA in the early afternoon and went right to the hospital. Long story short. . . Frankie waited another four days to make her grand entrance. She was born on July 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm. She was five weeks early but weighed in at five and a half pounds, so she was going to be okay. I was not going to Africa. I was here when Frankie was born. Would not have wanted it any other way. I had thoughts of naming her Frances Malawi Bollman. The parents did not have the same thoughts. Frances Grace Bollman was here. Grace means gift. She is a gift. Her parents entrusting her to us for several days another gift.
This is a test
So, after waiting nine years, I had five grandchildren five and under. Four of them born in July! Little Jenna made her mark by claiming August—my birth month. But Frankie was in the NICU for about ten or eleven days. Let’s just say being a first baby and a preemie makes for a little closer oversight in parenting. This is partly why these past four days have been such a gift. Frankie is doing great now. But the first three or four months were very hard for my daughter and son-in-law and for Frankie. I have helped with her at her house a few days since she was born. But the fact that they would trust us with her for four days when she is only ten months old is a real gift. Ok. We were “tested” about a month ago. They came down for a sleepover and went out for dinner while I put Frankie to bed. Frankie and I both passed the test. I got her down without incident and she slept fine all night. The May four-day rendezvous was a go!
Back to hair twirlers–serious ones
Oh. I digress. This blog is about hair twirlers. What I discovered taking care of Frankie this long is that she is “one of us.” She is a Davis—my maiden name. We are a family of hair twirlers. I am a hair twirler. Only casual, though. My hair is perfectly straight. Not a bend in sight. But my sister, Kathy, is a serious hair twirler. We were only sixteen months apart so we spent a lot of time together. Growing up she was always twirling her hair. When we palled around our grade school years, she was twirling her hair. When I visited her in college, she was twirling her hair. After we were both married with children. When we lived in the same town for five years and were at each other’s houses all the time, she was always twirling her hair. She is a breast cancer survivor. When I visited in the hospital during her surgery she was twirling her hair. This was before chemo and she lost it all. But, you get the idea. This is what I mean by serious hair twirler. She has curly hair. I think it is from a lifetime of twirling.
Frankie, from what I can tell these four days, will have curly hair, too. She, like my sister Kathy, is serious about hair twirling. You can see for yourself in this picture. I think this must be a genetic marker. If I was a little younger I might seek a PhD in human hair habits. But I would rather spend the time with my granz, watching them and learning that way. No PhD for me. When I take leave, I will be certified CG—Crazy Grama.
No need to get creeped out
I know what some of you are thinking. Cute in little kids, but a little weird for adults, no? For those of you who are not hair twirlers, it’s about the feel. Though time and the elements can do a number on the texture of your exposed hair, even well into adulthood, the under-side of the hair on the head is very soft and silky. This is why we twirl it. Carefully wrapping a chunk of hair around your forefinger–twirling it–then pushing the small twirl with the tip of your thumb, exposes soft and silky strands. Ahhhhhh. Such pleasure. Those of you who are not hair twirlers and getting creeped out about now. Not to worry. This is all there is to it. Just an innocent and life-long joy of twirling hair. For a ten-month old, it’s all soft and silky. Frankie can twist anywhere on her head and it is so soft.
No end to the craziness
These past four days with Frankie have been such a gift. Because my daughter and son-in-law gave us the opportunity, because Frankie is so full of life and has many unique ways of being in addition to the hair twirling, because I can see the Davis in her, it has been pure joy. They have done such a good job of raising her these ten months she was easy to have. And, because this is Gramasylum there is no end to the crazy love and the crazy fun.
What little patterns of behavior make your family unique and bring fun and joy? Tell us about it in the comments below.