Earlier this month, our daughter, Lindsay, and her husband, Matthew, added another branch to their family tree — giving Tim and I grandchild No. 3 to love, cuddle and spoil.
The baby was nine days overdue when Lindsay was admitted to one of the spacious labor/delivery suites at RMC’s Women’s Center on a Friday afternoon. When my husband, Tim, and I got there, she was nestled in bed, watching TV.
I glanced up at the screen and laughed. "Harry Potter?" I asked. "You’ve got to be kidding me."
"It’s a marathon!" she said, excitedly. "It’s running all weekend."
That had to be obstetrical serendipity because, if you knew our daughter, you’d know she is a Harry Potter freakoid. She’s read all the books, seen all the movies, attended all the midnight showings, even taken a trip to Platform 9-3/4 in London. Back in her teenage years, K98 DJs Steve Stevens and Chris Wright dubbed her "Harriet Potter" and allowed her to do such things as on-the-air movie reviews.
When the anesthetist arrived to administer an epidural, Tim and I left the hospital to meet friends for dinner — Jim and Margaret Roberts — who just happen to be the baby’s godparents.
Lindsay wasn’t allowed food at that point, but we told Matt we’d bring him something back. "Keep us posted," we said.
Ninety minutes later, we had just paid the check at Thai One On when Matt called. "Things are starting to happen," he said.
"We’re on our way," I responded.
I grabbed Matt’s takeout order — a container of drunken noodles.
"What makes them ‘drunken’?" we had asked Sam, the restaurant owner.
He laughed. "It’s more about the condition of the chef making them," he answered.
At the hospital, I went to Lindsay’s bedside and took her hand while Matt stood sentry on the other side. Tim stood back against the wall, camera in hand, ready to take the parents + doctor + newborn photos.
Just as with our two previous grandkids, we didn’t know the baby’s gender. Dr. James Daniel would reveal that important bit of information while singing "Happy Birthday" as the baby was being born. It’s his thing.
I put up a cue card listing the names: Amelia for a girl, Mickey for a boy.
In between contractions, Lindsay and I talked and made jokes, especially about how hungry she was. The delightful aroma of Thai food wafting through the room didn’t help matters.
Up on the TV screen, Harry, Ron and Hermione were wandering around the Chamber of Secrets.
And then the delivery room concert commenced . . . "Happy birthday to you . . . happy birthday to you . . . happy birthday dear . . . AMELIA! . . . happy birthday to you!"
A precious girl and a big one, too: 9 pounds, 1 ounce.
An hour later, Tim and I were at Taco Bell placing an order Lindsay had texted to us — half their menu, it seemed.
By the time we delivered it to her room, we were exhausted, but there was still one more thing we had to do.
When we walked into the Peerless Grille, owner Kristy Farmer knew why we were there and set about filling our drink order: a beer for Tim and a martini for me.
She refused the credit card Tim handed her. "It’s on me," she said.
We argued with her about it. "This is our tradition," I reminded her. "We always come here for a drink after the birth of a grandchild." She shook her head, still refusing to let us pay.
Poor Kristy. She may not realize it now, but she just started a new tradition.
Donna Barton’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.