Ford column-An arrival and a parting

  • Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:20 a.m.

They say the best gifts come in the smallest packages.
This adage proved true once again last month when my niece arrived two weeks early, weighing just 5 pounds 13 ounces. The perfect present in a very small package.
I had talked to my youngest sister, Laura, the night before the baby made her unexpected appearance. Laura and Josh were shopping for baby items and preparing to add a room to their house.
Although this room might measure only 12-by-12 when complete, it will add about 25 percent to their 530-square-foot home in Portland, Ore. Another small package.
The morning after their shopping trip, Josh sent a text reading, "Healthy baby girl."
Puzzled, I actually wondered for a moment who'd had a baby. I laughed when my sister Merilee said she'd had the same reaction.
Laura sounded stunned and happy and exhausted and grateful and overwhelmed and completely head over heels in love. With sudden clarity, I remembered each of those emotions surging and overlapping with a good dose of adrenaline after the births of each of my children.
Like they do with most of their important decisions, Laura and Josh took their time naming the baby. Deliberate and thorough, they listed the options on a whiteboard in the hospital room and after two days introduced Lola Pearl to the world.
"Lola" because they liked it. "Pearl" as a tribute to our grandma Pearl and sister Merilee Pearl.
Lola not only has a wonderful name, she also has a lucky birthday.
Born on the same day as my husband, I hope Lola will take after him. I hope she will be generous and optimistic. I hope she will have incredible determination.
I hope she will give thoughtful, practical gifts but every now and then surprise her loved one with something like a handcrafted ring to replace a lost wedding band, or whimsical hand-blown glass goblets.
Like my husband, I hope Lola will use her ambition to make a difference in the world.
While we celebrate the arrival of Lola, we also mourn the passing of Lula.
My niece arrived four days before Christmas, and my husband's grandmother died four days after.
Lula Janeverett, or Gan Gan, was 96 and had three children, 11 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. As a newcomer to the South, I loved to hear Gan talk after I married her grandson, her speech dotted with "bless her heart" and "I declare" and "precious."
As her health failed, I thought about Gan daily.
When I tucked my youngest child into the old Jenny Lind bed that once was Gan's.
When my kids did homework at the little yellow enamel-topped table that once stood in Gan's kitchen.
When our family and friends gathered around the drop-leaf dining room table that must have hosted a hundred Brown holiday meals in her Cary home.
The kitchen was small and hot, and when Gan cooked she would yell, "Fan me, Charlie!" And her husband of 56 years would wave a dishtowel in her direction.
I hope the same for Lola.

Contact Emily Ford at

Commenting is not allowed on this article.