His mama was glowing from the effort of difficult work, well done. His papa was beaming from ear to ear. Weary, yes, but jubilant. I imagined what they were thinking: I can’t believe we did this; I can’t believe he’s ours! I remember the intensity of that experience with my own soulmate, and the euphoria that followed. There is nothing in all the world like it.
Memories of the hard journey were pushed aside as they reveled in the sweetness, slowly settling into their new reality. Baby makes three, a family. How amazing to be there in their midst, the babe still angel-dusted, so freshly ushered in. How amazingly blessed!
I cried when I saw him, nestled against his mama. I cried as the nurse finished attending to him and made him cry! I cried when I held him. And when I knew I should leave, I cried all the way home.
He is the spitting image of his daddy. We expected as much — peeking in on his profile in utero as he was knit together. But to meet him in the flesh, and to feel immediately so familiar, was a powerful experience.
Oliver Lloyd bears the name of his paternal great-grandpa, who left us much too soon — 28 years ago this very week. Lloyd’s support early in our young marriage made all the difference. He knew then that he wouldn’t be with us long. He did everything he could to make it easier for us to succeed as life partners and as parents.
Lloyd loved having his young grandson toddle around the farm. One day he and I watched together from the back porch as our firstborn pushed a miniature wheelbarrow near the milk house, trailing after his daddy, doing chores. “What I wouldn’t give to be here when he’s five,” Lloyd mused. We, too.
The Hubs and I were expecting our second chid as Lloyd departed. We had determined not to tell him, our good news mingling with acute sadness. Somehow he found out. It was the last thing we three spoke of in our final moments together. I’ve always wondered, hoped, pondered: is it possible his path crossed with hers somewhere along the way? Was he cheering on her arrival from the other side? Some call it wishful thinking. I call it keeping faith.
A year and a half later, the Hubs placed a poignant call from the hospital when our youngest son was born. He told his mom all was well and Lloyd would have a namesake. At 3:00 o’clock this morning, it was déjà vu. We introduced her to Lloyd’s second generation namesake via text, accompanied by a photo. “What a way to start a great day!” she exclaimed. And an early start, indeed! The matriarch still reins. Lloyd would be proud of her, too.
My heart swells with gratitude for our beautiful and beloved grandbabe, Oliver Lloyd. He has traveled far to join us. We know he will be distinctly his own person. We look forward to discovering everything he may become. But he is already, somehow, so much a part of us. And we are in love, all over again.