She would have realized a big goal -- a day that showed she would be followed by yet another generation, by a young girl. We were usually on the same wavelength, and I think the name is an appealing one.As the day progressed into evening, I was periodically tuning into my son's Facebook page, waiting for him to post the news, and to see the responses from friends and from members of the extended Haeffner clan in Colorado and Florida. 25, 2016 -- I have a new neighbor, a new family on my street. I had kind words and soaring thoughts that day when I finally got to meet my first grandchild -- well, met her on my computer. I don't know why none of us had thought of it until the least computer-savvy member of the family came up with the idea earlier Monday. ***** Not long after, my son Dave, the father of my sole grandchild, called me on my cell phone, to see when I might be heading south to Ashville to visit him and my daughter-in-law Ali, and granddaughter Marly, born Oct. I explained that certain responsibilities and appointments were limiting my immediate options. "I can't believe we didn't think of that before." An hour or so later, he was texting me, asking if we could set it up right then. " I asked, a simple response that revealed my total ignorance of the particulars of the maneuver. He and Dave were going to work their magic; were going to plug in whatever needed plugging, and connect my computer to Dave's in Ashville. A few minutes later, I heard some beeps and a computer growl, and went over to the computer and its large screen, and there was Ali sitting down with baby Marlena Susan -- Marly, my first grandchild -- in her arms, sound asleep. I looked at Marly, too, and marveled at the peaceful scene. I was wearing a wide smile at the scene in front of me -- was wearing it as Dave seated himself to the side and behind Ali. I laughed softly and asked Ali: "How's Dave with the diapers? "In the meantime, we should do this more often." "I agree," I said. Marly was still sleeping, so I added: "Such a well-adjusted baby." Ali laughed again.They have a lovely home that has served about a half-dozen families since I moved in here. "Hey, why don't we use that thing where you talk to each other on the computer," I said to my son Jon, who lives with me. Well, he said, he had just been conversing by text with Jon -- who happened to be seated across the room from me, the living room where I work, watching a movie with a couple of friends. Madonna and child, I thought, a religious feeling washing over me. He had told me in our earlier phone call that they had gone out that day to vote in Ashville, and now Dave said "They gave us a sticker," which he pulled from his shirt and held close to the computer camera. She knew that was true, but that moments like this one -- where Marly was sleeping -- were but part of a larger, often exhausting mosaic of care.Oddly, I have known very few of them, other than in a passing way. I can't stand one more appearance of Trump surrogates, those odd creatures who spin and spin and try to make their candidate seem feasible, even representational. "You know, see each other, like you're in the same room." Jon was seated facing away from me, but I imagine he rolled his eyes. "Well," I said at last, my eyes resting on the cherubic face of my granddaughter. It's great to see you." And to Dave and Ali I added: "I'll see you guys soon.
I looked at him as he finished, and we both nodded. "That was great." And in the quiet, as Jon returned to his movie, I thought of the political signs on the lawn of my new neighbors and on the lawns of far too many other people, and wondered if votes like mine would be numerous enough across the country to prevent a world where a demagogue like Donald Trump might rule during my granddaughter's formative years -- might poison the atmosphere (as he has for the past 16 months) with bile and a need to punish his enemies. 6, 2016, the grandchild Susan longed for arrived; it was a girl. Contractions were coming at a.m., Dave wrote in a text message.
He certainly knows how to set up a Skype conversation, just as Jon does. " "I am right now," he said, and moments later stopped the movie, rose from his chair and headed over to my computer corner, motioning for me to rise and move aside. " "Fine," she said, smiling down at the bundle she was holding. Ali laughed, and allowed as how the current state, sleep, was an occasional respite from a fairly active child -- one who, at 18 days old -- was as demanding as any other healthy baby her age. I was studying Marly, and said what many people who saw her picture on a column I wrote a beautiful child," I said. It took me back in memory to my experience with my own kids, when they were demanding, dependent babies, and to the practice of changing diapers. But I'll be along before too long." "We hope so," said Ali.
***** Jon's two friends who were visiting our home -- two young ladies -- came over to the computer to see the baby, and one asked if the name was , and Ali said they'd thought about that, and considered both, though the former seemed to be holding sway. I found myself smiling again, as were Ali and Dave. "Almost as good as being there," I said, "but not quite.
Susan would have been watching with me too, and probably itching to get down to Asheville -- a place I, along with Dave's two brothers, Jon and Bill, will be visiting in November.
Chris Burns, a club member, was holding a long-handled basket used to collect "Fines and Confessions" at each meeting: money voluntarily submitted by members for any milestones mentioned, meetings missed, and other reasons. Across my dining table, club member Jim Somerville was watching, and said later that he wondered what the call was about, for my face bore a look of heightened interest and some urgency. And then to my son I said "Just a second." I stood up, holding the phone out in front of me, and announced loudly to my fellow diners: "It's my son on the phone. "You didn't say whether it was a boy or a girl," a couple of people said, and I answered: "A girl, named Marlena.
Chris had just started passing the basket when my phone vibrated; it was Dave. "Well," my son said to me across the phone from Asheville. Congratulations." Chris Burns was just passing in front of me with the basket, reaching out to another club member. They're going to call her Marly." ****** Susan would have loved sharing that day, October 6th, with me.