By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
If becoming a grandmother is pretty neat, exciting and wonderful, what’s it like to become a great-grandmother?
“What could be more exciting and wonderful?” asked Doris Lea Cain. “It was great becoming a great-grandmother!”
She and her husband Bill have five “wonderful” grandchildren.
“We love them more than anything,” she said. “But they’re all grown up now and we haven’t had a baby in our family for more than 20 years.”
So that thrill of watching a newborn grow and love and play was all over.
Until little Alyza Dawn Lake came along.
“You can imagine our excitement when our granddaughter, Amanda, and her husband, Alex, announced they were expecting a baby,” Cain said. “I will never forget the happiness of that special day!”
The whole family was tingling with expectation (so to speak).
Would it be a girl or would it be a boy?
They couldn’t wait.
“We counted the days until it was time for the ultrasound to find out,” she said. “I was thrilled when Amanda invited me to accompany her, Alex and her mom to that appointment.
“She wanted it to be a secret until her family and friends could join in the fun, so they decided to have a Gender Reveal Party,” Cain said. “I had never heard of this before, but this just seemed to make everything more exciting.”
The ultrasound tech didn’t tell even the mom-to-be the gender of the baby.
“She just wrote it down, sealed it in an envelope and handed it to me. At that time, I was the only one who knew the gender of the baby and I felt so special.”
Earlier that day, she had made special cupcakes for the party that could be filled with pink or blue filling and then covered with icing.
“We hurried home so that I could secretly insert the filling before heading to my daughter’s house, where her guests had made their own predictions by wearing either blue or pink.”
When Amanda gave the signal, everyone bit down onto their cupcakes.
“And the secret was revealed,” Cain said. “The filling was pink. It was a girl! There was great rejoicing and cheering, and the waiting continued.”
The days until her great-granddaughter’s arrival seemed to drag on forever. Now that everyone knew a baby girl was on the way, a lot of pink clothing and accessories were being bought.
The day finally arrived for little Alyza Dawn to be born.
“The entire family (all 12 of us) were present at the hospital to help in the celebration of her arrival,” Cain said.
“Amanda and Alex were very generous with Alyza right from the beginning, and we all held her and had our picture taken with her.”
And a great-granddaughter on top of that.
Life was complete.
“She was so perfect, and we bonded instantly with her and fell in love. What a joy!”
Fast forward 14 months.
Cain can’t count how many pictures they’ve taken of little Alyza.
“She’s probably been photographed too many times, but we cannot control ourselves. I carry an album in my purse in case anyone asks about her.
“And if they don’t, I show them her new pictures anyway.”
(She has to if she wants to keep her Great-Grandma Card.)
“I think that Alyza is the sweetest, most beautiful baby in the world with those big, sky blue eyes and pretty smile,” she gushed.
“Yes, I guess she might be a little spoiled because with an extended family of 12, there is always somebody around to play with her and give her attention.
“Maybe that is why she is the happiest baby that I have ever seen!”
Last fall, Alyza’s mommy faced the dilemma that plagues all working moms: Who will watch the baby?
Great-grandma to the rescue.
“They needed somebody to watch Alyza for about three hours in the afternoon,” Cain said. “To our delight, Bill and I were their first choice. Now we anxiously wait for her every afternoon and then our world revolves around this precious little girl with huge blue eyes and an infectious laugh.
“We see the world through her innocent, curious eyes and it is truly a wonderful place. As soon as she arrives, our wonderful adventures begin.
“For a few hours a day, we are kids again. We crawl into her tent to play, take walks to smell the flowers, swing on the porch, eat lunch together, snuggle up to read her favorite books, sing silly songs and, of course, do the ‘Happy Dance’ every day.
“Most of all, we just hug and kiss her and laugh a lot.”
So being a great-grandmother is more than great. It’s stupendous.
“Yes, Alyza’s ‘MeeMaw’ and ‘Pappaw’ wonder what we did for fun before she was born,” Cain said. “She makes us so happy every day. At this time in our lives, we feel so lucky to be able to make memories with her.
“She has such a darling little personality already, and her mother says that there will always be a part of us in her. Like her parents and grandparents, we show her constant kindness, patience and love, and the things that we still want to share with her are endless.
“We have been there for every little milestone in her life, and we marvel at every new thing that she does. Our children are always saying that Alyza is keeping us young.
“But we just know that we are blessed to have her in our lives and have the opportunity to help her grow into a healthy, happy toddler.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.