Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Baby Love Blooms across the Miles

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Baby Love Blooms across the Miles

Article excerpt

I am talking on the phone to my daughter-in-law in Paris. In the background, I hear the merry chirps of 18-month-old Audrey.

"She's taking off her shoes and putting them back on," Marie-Christine tells me. "And she has learned the word for shoe. She's saying 'chaussure.' "

The French word for shoe. There's a tug at my heart. Our only granddaughter is going to speak French. Our son speaks to her in English, but she hears French from everyone else. When she visits later this summer and I talk to her in English, will it awaken some memory of those precious days in Paris when she was new and I sang "Rock-a-bye Baby" to her? Sir J.M. Barrie said, "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December." For me, it was the roses in December first, and now there are the memories: Our son, Ben, telephones to say that Audrey has arrived. "When can you come?" he asks. "As soon as I pack my bag," I answer. And I bravely travel alone to Paris to play my new role as grandmother. I arrive during a transportation strike and in a snowstorm. I find my way to Les Invalides, where Ben meets me at last. The pleasure of seeing him, radiant with new fatherhood, is matched only by the joy that awaits: seeing the new mother and baby. Ben has to return to his office, so he draws a street diagram for me and shows me where to begin. There is no possibility of getting a taxi on this wet, strike-bound afternoon. I walk through a warren of Left Bank streets for more than an hour, and finally arrive at the clinic, boots covered in snowy slush, and so excited I ask for directions in dreadful Franglais. Up two flights of stairs, down a corridor, and there they are! The new mama is in the private nursery attached to her room, gently washing and crooning softly to a tiny naked person. My heart is full of love for them both! And then I hold my granddaughter for the first time, oh so carefully. Her skin is like peau de soie, and from her downy hair rises the unmistakable scent of roses. It is dark when I walk back to the apartment, but in spite of the December gloom, I am thinking of roses. …

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