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Beth Underwood: With ‘grandmotherhood’ just six weeks away, things are about to get real

As you may remember, I’m on the road to grandmotherhood. T-minus six weeks to go until my daughter Hannah’s little bundle of joy arrives. Time flies when you aren’t the one who’s pregnant, and at this stage of the game, things are about to get real.

Between you and me, I’m not sure I’m ready.

Up until last weekend, I’d have said otherwise. How hard can this whole grandmother thing be, anyway? Once you get the name picked out, you should be gold, right? Except we haven’t settled on my grandmother name. Not officially at least. We’re down to the final two contenders, though. It’s not unlike the baby’s name, which has also been narrowed down to the final two contenders.

No wonder I’m having issues. But I digress.

Before last weekend, I’d have sworn I was a shoo-in for grandmotherhood. As an aunt to several nephews and a niece, I’ve mastered the art of sneaking them chocolate before dinner. Throw in lots of nice warm hugs, stories, toys, and a rocking chair, and top it all off with a ‘Best Grandma Ever’ mug and I should be set.

Or so I thought before Hannah sent the ultrasound photo.

“Look at that wittle mushy face,” she texted.

I examined the photo carefully. Hmm. Not only was I unsure if what I was seeing was what I was supposed to be seeing, I wasn’t sure I was seeing much of anything — and certainly nothing that resembled a “wittle mushy face”.

So I looked again. I turned the image on my phone to the left and to the right and was almost 34 percent sure I saw a face. Well, sort of a face. It wasn’t a baby face though. Still, nothing that stood out as mushy or squishy.

I stared and pondered and squeezed one eye shut, thinking maybe that would help. I pulled the phone in close, then pushed it away, as far as my arm would extend. I sat the phone down, and walked away for a minute, hoping my eyes would re-adjust.

Nothing.

Finally, I did what I swore I wouldn’t do. I broke down and asked for clarification. Because I had to get this one right. Failing to see my own granddaughter on the ultrasound image would be like failing the first test of grandmotherhood. And we both know that’s not happening.

“I’m not 100 percent sure I know what I’m looking at.”

That’s right. I’d said it.

“It’s like you’re looking at her head on instead of profile, and her forehead is on the right,” Hannah said.

Still, I saw nothing and reverted to marking up the ultrasound image for further clarification.

“What’s this?” I asked, sending her a marked up photo with a big green arrow.

“That’s her nose/cheeks/lips! How are you not seeing this?!”

“Shew—just making sure,” I responded. “I see forehead on the left, though.”

“What?!” Clearly, Hannah was flabbergasted. “Her lips are on the left side and her hand are kind of by her face on the left! Honestly, do you know what a baby looks like?!

(Apparently, I don’t…)

“I’M A HORRIBLE GRANDMOTHER!” I responded.

Yes, it was that bad. Bad enough to respond in all caps. Who knew I could potentially blow best grandmother status even before the baby was born? And I mean that rhetorically before you volunteer an answer.

I decided to give it one last look and read over Hannah’s layout explanation before blinking long and hard. I can only surmise that the grace of God was with me as I opened my eyes because, at that point, the baby’s image practically jumped off my iPhone screen.

For the first time, I could see her. I could see that sweet little baby with the mushy, squishy, perfect granddaughter face and she was simply wonderful.

My newfound ultrasound reading skills confirmed what I’d suspected all along. I am going to be the best grandmother ever — assuming I can pick her out again when Hannah sends the next photo.

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Beth Underwood is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She shares stories of everyday life that entertain, inspire, and encourage others. Her books include Gravity, a narrative nonfiction account of a small group of Tennessee National Guardsmen, and Talk Bourbon to Me, a lighthearted look at Kentucky’s native spirit. Drop her a line at beth@bethwrightunderwood.com, or visit her website at bethwrightunderwood.com.

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