While I was pregnant with Izzy, Jay and I had a heated argument over who was going to be in the delivery room with us when she arrived. I wanted my mother to be there with me as well as Jay but he did not. He felt it should be an experience between he and I. I gave in and agreed to his decision. The day came and in the room were Johnny, Nelda, David, and of course Jay and I. The Doctor walked in and said “everyone, except who should be in here, needs to leave now as this baby is coming.” Jay whispered in my ear “can Nelda stay?” I was in no condition to argue with him but at the same time I REALLY wanted her in the room. There was just this comfort about her being there with me as my mother was not in town yet. So Nelda smiled, took pictures, and witnessed the birth of her granddaughter. Izzy came and both she and Jay bolted when they rushed Izzy out of the room because they were afraid of complications she may have incurred while she was in my womb. I kissed my child and then waited patiently until someone came in to deal with me.
God had a plan. ...
A week after Izzy was born I went into post partum depression. I cried to my mother and told her that I didn’t know what I was going to do without her and my father nearby. I told her my child would not share in the beautiful memories all my nephews/nieces had with her and my dad. She held my hand and as only MY mother can do looked me straight in the face and said in Spanish “Get over it! Do you not realize how lucky your child is going to be? Do you not see that not only is she going to have our love from far away but that of 3 other sets of grandparents on Jay’s side? You need to EMBRACE that love and be grateful that she is going to have so many people love her. How many children can say that?” Boy she snapped me back into place. I never looked at it that way, I just thought my parent’s were the only ones who could be good grandparent’s. I was just ignorant I guess. I just assumed Mexicans were the only ones who could tolerate a screaming child! Little did I know that I was so wrong.
A month later Izzy had surgery due to birth complications. As always Johnny and Nelda were there to support us and console us. We were told the surgery would be at least a couple of hours so Jay and I went to the chapel to pray. Someone came in to let us know that she was out of surgery and we rushed to the recovery room. Needless to say all I wanted to do was hold my child and thank God that everything had turned out ok. When I walked into the room, Nelda was holding Izzy. Time stood still for what seemed like an eternity. It was almost as though I had intruded onto a very private moment between grandmother and granddaughter. Nelda was holding her in her arms and Izzy had a tube on her little arm and Nanny’s finger was in between Izzy’s little hand. It was so beautiful to watch. She was so peaceful and Nanny, as she became known to Izzy, was just staring at her almost like communicating with her silently. A mix of emotions came over me as I wanted to take her from her arms but I just couldn’t. It was too beautiful. I know now that God held me back so that they could share that moment together. And that’s where it all began.... Relationship between grandmother and granddaughter.
Oh yes he had a plan...
Johnny always says there are people who walk into a room and nothing changes and then there are people who walk into the room and the entire room changes. Nelda did not change a room, she MADE the room. In her serene way, she walked into a room and although she was quiet and peaceful, everything eventually revolved around her. She never commanded attention but somehow managed to be the center of attention. She was like the star on the wall that shines even if it doesn’t move. Nanny loved ALL of her grandchildren dearly. The reason why she and Izzy were attached at the hip was because we were geographically closer than anyone else. Izzy and Nanny were close from birth and my child would cry when she would leave her Papa and Nanny’s house. Jay’s relationship with her was the same. Jay moved in with Johnny and Nelda his senior year of high school. He has always told me how much his life changed living there. He learned 3 very important things:
One; he knew he wanted a marriage as strong as theirs, Two; he wanted to have a life with beautiful friends like the ones they had, and Three; the respect of your home and parents. Nelda taught him to respect himself and her. She loved him like he was her own and Jay had so much respect for her. He can tell you stories about how he would call her when he knew he was in trouble to help buffer the wrath that would come from Johnny. THANK YOU Nelda for teaching him well.
Ok so here’s his plan, I now know that the Lord placed her in MY life to teach me a valuable lesson in love. No blood lines ran between she and I, nor between my husband and her, nor my child and her, yet she was an even better mother, grandmother, friend, wife, confidant than any blood relative could ever be. I could only hope to someday to be like her. If that’s NOT love I don’t know what is. My husband is a good husband because of her. My child is a respectful little girl because of her, and I am a more tolerant, patient, person because of her. I have to count to 20 sometimes when my latin temper wants to come out and I used to think ok, WWJD? Now I say ok WWND? Uncle Alvin always called Nelda, Aunt Faye, and myself TWIGS on the Watson family tree and eventually we became branches. I like to think that Nelda was more than a branch on that tree but a ROOT in that beautiful tree of life.
THANK YOU NELDA for touching so many lives. The love and support we have all received from your friends/family is a direct reflection of how special you truly are. We are going to go forward with sadness but many special memories that we will never, ever forget. Every mile stone, every occasion, every memory will have you written all over it. Please continue to bless us with your memory.
Regret and guilt are terrible things to experience but I’m soooo sorry I never got to tell you this in person but I know you can feel me now.