I heard my daughter, Jennifer, the first time. And the second time. And the third time. Yet somehow “What?!” was my only response to her over the phone when she told me she was pregnant. I had given notice to my job and my landlord in Northampton, England, and was in the midst of finding a place to live in Birmingham. A new hospital was about to open in three weeks time and I would be one of the staff transferring from Northampton to open up the hospital.
When people asked me, “How long will you stay in England?” my pat response was always, “At least five years or until my daughter starts a family.” At the time I learned about Jennifer’s pregnancy I had been in the UK for four years.
I wasn’t sure I was ready to return stateside. One option that I contemplated was to rescind my acceptance of the new job and stay in Northampton, then move back to the US when the baby was born. Another option I thought of was to move to Birmingham, go back to the US for the birth of my grandchild, return to the UK, stay until I had been there for five years, apply for a British passport, then move back to America. This option seemed to be the best given the circumstances.
It took about six months for me to share the news with others that I would become a grandmother without bursting into a maniacal laugh. Was it because I would be 46 years old by the time my grandchild was born? Was it because I lived on another continent? Or was it because my future; specifically, my time in England, was potentially coming to an end?
Fortunately, my employer allowed me to save the majority of my annual leave/vacation to fly to San Diego, CA for the birth of my grandchild. The plan was to spend four weeks there to be present for the birth and to help out my daughter and her new family afterwards. Once I had moved to Birmingham I spent time exploring it, making friends, and participating in fun activities there and in London. I also had plans to find a new doctor. In Northampton, a physician had prescribed a particular course of treatment after an exam. I wanted a second medical opinion.
Things fell into place in Birmingham. I had no regrets about the move and started to fall in love with it.
Next on my agenda was to find a unique name that my grandchild would call me since I would be one of four grandmothers and three grandfathers to welcome the baby. I was too young to be anyone’s Grannie.