#proudgrandma Part 2

Back in February when my first granddaughter arrived, I wrote this.

Before that, in October as a birthday gift, my daughter, now amazing new-mother, gave me a subscription to Storyworth. So far I have added 42 stories/chapters, many started here over the past 10 years as slices. Seven of the chapters, I crafted as letters to Aden, my granddaughter. One tells her how her parents told my husband and I that she would be arriving in Feb. Another was all about the baby shower we hosted for her. Another about her bedroom in Amsterdam.

This Friday, I started to craft another letter to Aden. I wanted to capture the day she was born from my perspective. Here’s my beginning draft:

Dear Aden,
I awoke in Arlington, VA on February 22nd (2-22-23) reached for my iPhone resting on the nightstand and saw a red #1 beside the text message app. When I opened it, it was a shared text addressed to me, Brian and Anne that read:

“Meet Aden Sophia Donnelly-Gunyon, born 10pm Amsterdam time on 02.21.23 and this photo was attached.

Your Aunt Anne, living in the same time zone as you, replied first and your Grandma and Grandpa followed with these messages;

Soon, more photos arrived to our phone. I had the best Weddnesday at school as I carried my iPhone and quickly shared your photo. “Look, my daughter had a baby girl last night. Her name is Aden Sophia!” I showed everyone I passed in the hallway your photo! 

I anticipate it being fun to read this chapter to Aden in a few years.
Another amazing benefit of writing our stories – so the next generations can enjoy them!

Special thanks to my writing partner, Barb, who modeled well for me how to write about the first day of a grandchild’s life from a grandmother’s point of view.


Ruth – Aden – Nic – Dhonielle – Ashley

Yesterday these five strong women inspired me!


Questions these five have me thinking about:

  • What am I doing to keep RBG’s spirit alive? Somehow seeing my grandbaby wearing this onsie I purchaced at The Outrage gives me great hope!
  • Attending the evening book event that brought Nic Stone to town (and then is able to visit MY SCHOO this morning) gave me great hope! She was interviewed by two authors, Dhonielle Clayton, the founder of #Weneeddiverse books, and Ashley Woodfolk, wearing a t-shirt, We Need More Thinkiers, to promote an organization that I’ll be donating to. I recommend reading ALL books by these three authenic, honest, amazing black authors.

Which women inspire you today, this month, always?!!

PS – More about Nic Stone tomorrow
PSS – I’m co-hosting a Slicer Workshop with Fran McCrackin on Friday
(St. Patrick’s Day at 5pm – Wear green and come join us to chat about writing)

Amsterdam by the Numbers

3844 miles each way
2 planes going and 1 on the return
3 Ubers + bus + train + 1000s of steps through secrucity, board patrol to each planes’ gate

VISITING my 1st granddaughter
#14 and up a steep flight of 22-steps to our 1-bedroom AirB&B
4 block walk + Bus #17 + 2 block walk to #28 (Aden’s home!)
1 tap of my credit card to get on and 1 tap to get off
1 takeout meal enjoyed together (2 rice tables) and 1 night babysitting so new parents could enjoy a date
1 walk to the park on 1 sunny Saturday
Many hours spent holding and many more spent watching Aden rest so peacefully

EXPLORING my 1st granddaughter’s city
6 cloudy days, 1 day of blizzard-like snow and 1 sunny day
8 mornings of walking and finding a coffee shop for breakfast (0 Starbuck visits)
1 science museum (Nemo), 1 art gallery (Stedeljk), 1 boat tour, 1 outdoor market
A few buses and a few trams taken to navigate the city
But mostly walking many steps (15K+ a day) crossing many canals along the way

Aden and Aden’s home – so worth the visit!

Now that I am back home, I’m counting the days until I can visit her and her city again.
I hope it is soon!!

Shopping Day

When my husband and I travel, we have a habit of making the last day of a trip “shopping day”. So yesterday, we took a tram ride to the Albert Cuyp Street Market with our list. I wanted a few souvenir tote bags embossed with Amsterdam logos and a few tins of stroopwafels to take back home. And we wanted to get more gift for our granddaughter. On this sunny Saturday, this market was the perfect space to be. I purchased all on my list, plus we enjoyed both poffertjes (10 tiny little pancakes) and a nutella stroopwafel. Yummy!

1 – photo taken from the tram of the museum we toured yesterday during a windy, snowy day. 2 – tough-faced pofferjes maker 3 – stoopwafel maker 4 – Aden enjoying her new Dutch bunny!


“The emergency phone number here is 112 and we will just be down the street,” my daughter explained before leaving to enjoy a meal out. My husband and I were on babysitting duty for the first time. Bottles filled with breastmilk were in the frig. My son-in-law had just changed Aden’s diaper, fed her and burped her. We seemed set to handle this 8-pound bundle of joy for a couple of hours. First grandpa and then me for about an hour each held her snuggly body. Time flies when you are having fun!

Little Fingers

You seem to like these things on either side of you, your hands. All five fingers on each are long and thin. Fingernails on each tip, perfectly manicured without any help from a nail salon, Each fingers has the exact creases and wrinkles as I have on my hands. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But I find it fascinating that my hand is 1000s of times bigger than Aden’s. Yet our hands, finger-length proportions and knuckle lines, match. All except for size. One day, we will lock fingers and hold hands. Today, on her day 12 in the world, her entire hand grabs my pinky and we hold hands!

As you sleep, your hands are busy as you dream. Something fun must have just happened in your sleeping thoughts. Both your hands make a fist and your little hands move up by your ears – Touchdown!

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees, and toe, knees and toes.
Head, shoulders, knees, and toe, knees and toes.
And eyes, and ears and nose and mouth

Head, shoulders, knees, and toe, knees and toes.

I held you for the first time in your 11th day.
In-person, you looked smaller to me than the photos shared over the past 10 days of your life.
I held your 7-and a half pound and 17 inch long body for part of an afternoon.
Your mom, dad, Grandpa and I enjoyed every little expression on your face.

Since holding you, this song keeps playing in my head.
I’m looking forward to a day when we can sing it and acting it out together.
For now, I’ll just take in each of your brilliant features.
Love, Grandma

Head – so round and covered on top with the oftest dark hair
Shoulders – covered by your warm pjs but helping you to hold your head high and take in all around you.
Knees – part of your long legs, filling up the bottem of your 0-3 month-sized jps while your little arms are hidden away in the too-long-for-now sleeves
Toes – covered up by your pjs but I rubbed against the soft cotton and felt all five digits at the end of each of your long legs
Eyes – the color of the sky (will they changed?), with minute eyelashes and a wisp of eyebrows and opened to take in all around you.
Ears – perfect circle-shapes on each side of your precious round face, taking in the sound of the rain forest white noise on the TV and the happy conversation of your family
Nose – is it daddy’s? mommy’s? Either way, so cute!
Mouth – a big yawn as you awoke, followed by a sweet sound to let us know you’d like a fresh diaper, followed by bottle-sucking your mom’s breastmilk, followed by two lips contently together. Wait. Was that a little smile?!


Back in February, as I awaited my granddaughter’s her arrival, I wrote HERE about how fun it would be for her to arrive on Feb. 3, 2023. (2-3-23) That same day, my daughter explained how dates are written in Amsterdam –> day / month / year.

Today – March 2, 2023 – is written like this in Amsterdam –> 2-3-23.
Today – March 2, 2023 – is also the day I am flying to Amsterdam!!
A week ago – Feb. 22, 2023 (2-22 or 22-2) I awoke to a text from Amsterdam saying my granddaughter, Aden, had arrived the day before (21-2-23-written the Dutch way) I wrote about her HERE!

I’m excited to fly today, March 2, 2023 and when I think of the date the way the Dutch do, I feel it is a lucky date! (2-3-23)
I look forward to sharing this story with my granddaughter, Aden. All about how lucky I felt on 2-3-23 to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to meet her for the first time!


She’s here!!!

Anticipating your entrance as soon as I flipped the calendar to February
Dragging my iPhone everywhere to not miss your announcement via a text
Exploding with joy as I awoke on Wednesday, 2-22
Noticing you chose the green-yellow-purple of Mardi Gras over the pink of Valentine’s Day

Swaddled in your blanket like a burrito roll
Oh, those cheeks! I heard again and again
Peeking under your little hat, thick, dark hair, just like mommy and daddy’s
Heart emojis pinging, over and over, reacting to my text sharing the news of your arrival
In love with you from a continent away
A little fireball, awaiting to teach me your wisdom