Actually, here in Australia it was 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 28 July, when we met our first grandchild, Anderson Gray Sponberg, born in Atlanta on Monday, 27 July. But as we saw the photos pop up on our phone, you can bet that for an instant our hearts stood still. Then we clapped and whooped and cheered. Of course, he is the smartest, handsomest, cleverest grandchild ever! He did throw his parents Dane and Gray a curve ball by being in breech position, but thanks to a C-section arranged a few days in advance, Dane was able to be with Gray throughout, and dad, mom and baby are thriving.
Anderson weighed in at 6 pounds 4 ounces and 21” long and has a bit of blond fluff on his head. His first name was the surname of Eric’s Swedish great-grandfather, who changed it to Sponberg when he emigrated to Minnesota and found himself surrounded by other Andersons. His middle name, obviously, is after his mom and is an Irish surname on her side. We think it all rolls off the tongue very nicely.
Naturally, we would like to meet Anderson in person. For months now, awaiting the birth, Eric and I have been watching and vicariously enjoying the antics of small children playing with their parents and grandparents at the beach or in the park. How can you not chuckle at a toddler in pursuit of a pigeon, chubby legs churning, arms waving for balance like a tightrope walker? Or the older ones shouting and racing for the swings and slides as if they had wings on their heels. We would nudge each other and smile to think of a new little one joining our family soon. They call them “littleys” in Australia, by the way.
Due to our voyage and Covid-19, we’re going to miss a lot of that firsthand. But there’s no self-pity here. Baby healthy? Check! Parents happy? Check! Grandparents in Australia? No worries! Though it may be months or even a year from now, when borders reopen and we’re sure travel is safe, we will be on a plane. Till then, we will find creative ways to close the gap. In fact, thanks to Gray’s mom and sister, we were able to participate in a video baby shower for the expectant parents in early July. We are extremely grateful that Gray’s family is there in Atlanta to lavish love and support on the new family.
Coincidentally, the morning of Anderson’s birth, my Facebook feed contained one of those sentimental old fogey blurbs about how life was so much simpler and better before technology. Aside from the disconnect that you are using technology to rant about technology, baloney! If Eric had lived a hundred years ago, he would have died of the colon cancer he survived in 2004. If Dane had lived a hundred years ago, he would be dead of the Type 1 juvenile diabetes that shut down his pancreas when he was nineteen. If Gray had tried to give birth to a breech baby back then, both mother and baby might have perished.
Instead, Eric is alive to sail around the world, Dane wears an intravenous blood sugar monitor that instantly signals his mobile when he needs insulin, and Gray and Anderson are well enough to send a video of him trying to wedge his tiny fist into his mouth less than 24 hours after his birth. On top of which, we are able to share our joy with family and friends across the globe. So although I will try to restrain myself, if you don’t want to see baby photos of our adorable Anderson in the coming months, you should unfriend me right now.
Eric and I celebrated that night with a bottle of Tasmanian champagne, and, rare for us, we drank the whole thing! Truly, our cup runneth over.