Back in “the day,” we didn’t reveal that a new baby was expected until maybe month four or five. Even then, the wait seemed pretty long. Furthermore, we didn’t know the gender of the child, so generally two names were chosen in anticipation.

This past week, my great grandson, Conner, turned 11. Anticipating a birth seems slow, but the children grow up so fast! When expecting Conner, his sister Amelia was almost 2 1/2 I thought, “Will I be able to babysit a 2-year-old and a new baby?”

In anticipation, I got out the cradle, table bouncer, and swing. When Amelia came into the house, she said “My cradle.” I said “When your new brother comes, it will be Conner’s cradle.”

She said, “No, it’s my cradle.” She crawled into it, and spent a good bit of the day in and out of it. She pretended to be asleep, and she wanted her diaper changed. She said the same when she saw the table bouncer and the swing. She wanted to crawl into them too, but was easily distracted to the cradle. She could fit in the cradle with her head touching and her legs scrunched up.

She pretended to cry too. I was hoping in a few weeks, there wouldn’t be real tears. We wouldn’t have any trouble treating her special, because she certainly was (and still is). Her perceptions might be different with a baby who would have so many needs.

When Amelia’s Uncle Andrew was born, her daddy, Dan, was only 20 months old. He seemed intrigued. I don’t remember the competition for his “place in the scheme of things.” He was tender and accepting of his little brother. Growing up together, they had some typical brother disagreements, but mostly they were pretty compatible, they still are as adults. Their personalities are very different, but they compliment each other.

Granddaughter, Vivian, is an only child. Here at home, the older grandsons were impatiently waiting to meet her. I thought for sure she would be a boy. Those days of waiting until the child was born to know the gender are mainly past. She was born in Germany, and the surprise of a granddaughter was cool and exciting. I went to see her.

My girls were four years apart. My obstetrician said, “You have a girl at home, right?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Now you have two.” Renee had grown past the need for being the “baby.” Instead, she wanted to be the “mother.” The only problem there was letting her have some responsibility without letting her take over. When stories are told by the girls now, I think I missed the desired effect at times.

Going back another generation, I am five years older than my sister. I was very excited about her entrance into our family. My brother wanted a brother, and I wanted a sister. Since neither of us had anything to say about it, I’m still thrilled about receiving the gift to Anne Louise into our family. I didn’t feel compelled to be a second mother to her.

My mother wanted to call her Renee, and Dad didn’t like it. I said, “When I grow up, I’m going to have a little girl and call her Renee.” I almost wavered as Paul had another name in mind, but I couldn’t give it up. Our second child was named by Paul. Paula was appropriate for our little precious package. It is rare for a couple now to choose waiting to know the gender, and the announcement of pregnancy is told more quickly than in the old days. Therefore, waiting seems longer.

We’re coming up on Christmas very quickly. I am trying to put myself into the mental scene of waiting for the savior to come to earth. His birth was prophesied many years before. Did they sometimes say, “That prophecy is so old, I don’t believe it will ever happen,” or perhaps some ignored the prophesies.

It was “wise men” from the Orient who were studying the stars and noticed something new. They studied the scripture and found there was a king promised. They traveled months to find the promised one.

This is parallel to the scriptural teaching that Jesus is coming again, this time with power and great glory. Because the promise is centuries old, some say the same thing as at his first entrance. The Christ child did enter time on Earth, and he will come again.

With exciting expectation I anticipate his appearance. It’s a deep spiritual subject which can’t be addressed well in this small space. So I’ll close. Just as I joyously anticipated the appearance of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, I thoroughly long for the coming again of Christ. He will take me home to be with him forever. That’s worth waiting for!

Betty Blyler lives in New Berlin. For comments, questions or speaking engagements, e-mail:

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