By Audrey McClelland – When I was a little girl, my Nana used to watch me while my parents went to work. I remember how I loved pulling up to her yellow house and seeing her standing at the door of the home she loved so much. It always made me feel so safe, so secure, so loved. She was genuinely happy to see me every single morning, and that kind of love impacts a child immensely. My Nana had three sons, so I think she secretly loved having a little girl to take care of… lots of dolls, lots of tea parties, lots of pink.
I remember thinking at a very young age just what a wonderful mother my Nana would have been to a little girl. She LOVED her boys more than anything in the world, but she had a very ‘girly girl’ side to her, and I only really saw that side when she was with me. I felt very special. From such a young age, this incredible bond was formed, and as I grew, our bond continued to get stronger. When I headed off to college, even though my University was only 20 minutes away, I mailed her cards all the time. When I moved to New York City, I would call her on my way home from work and just gab about everything and anything. When I met the man I would eventually marry, I couldn’t wait for her to meet him and get her “stamp of approval!” I did. My Nana was just always there for me, always loving me.
She was always there for every milestone.
When I became pregnant with my first baby, my Nana was ecstatic. She cried when I told her, tears of joy. When I found out it was a little boy, she was over-the-moon. “Oh, Audrey! A boy! You know I love my boys!”
When I became pregnant with my second son, my Nana was overjoyed for my son William. “Brothers! You’ll have brothers!”
When I became pregnant with my third son, my Nana said, “You’re just like me! A mom to three boys!”
When I became pregnant with my fourth son, my Nana thought it was just incredible. “Four boys, you know they’ll always protect their Mom!”
But I’ll never forget what she told me in the hospital after meeting my Henry, my fourth son. “You’re not ready yet for another, but next time… I think you need a girl.”
I was stunned. My Nana telling me I needed a girl? I remember saying to her, “Oh, Nana… I think we’re done with four!”
Eight weeks later my Nana passed away. August 8, 2008.
It rocked my world. My Nana was such an important part of my life. And I just loved her so, so, so very much. I’ll never forget visiting her in the hospital a week before she passed away. She had been incredibly confused. She hadn’t been alert or ‘herself’ in a few days. I stood over her hospital bed crying and just wishing she would be OK. Out of nowhere, she became completely alert, touched my hand and said, “Don’t cry. It’s OK. Everything’s going to be OK.”
I never heard her speak again. But I have cherished those words.
I don’t know what came over me, but in those final days of her life… I asked her, “When the time is right, Nana… send me a baby girl.”
Two weeks after she passed away, my parents called me up to tell me they had found a baby gift in her closet addressed to “Baby McClelland.” Under the tons of boy baby clothes, on the very bottom of the bag, was a pink sleepy-suit.
Fast forward four years later.
I had really given up the idea of having a fifth baby when my Henry turned three years old. I was working a ton. We had a groove going in our house. The boys were getting older. And dare I say it, life was getting “easy.” Then Matt got sick in January 2012, and it was devastating. He was diagnosed with a GIST tumor in his abdomen, and once it was removed, he was put on a chemo pill for three years (we’re two years in). I prayed to my Nana every single night to make Matt OK. I was terrified for him. I was terrified for our family. I just wanted us all healthy.
It was during this difficult time in our life when I looked at Matt and said, “Let’s celebrate life and have another baby.”
I thought of my Nana and what I asked her before she died. Was the time right?
On October 31, 2012, I found out I was pregnant. On February 13, 2013, I found out our baby was a GIRL.
When the ultrasound technician told me it was a girl, I sobbed. Tears of joy. Tears of happiness. Tears that only my Nana understood. I looked to the heavens on that table and said, “Thank you, Nana.”
My daughter arrived on July 9, 2013 via C-section. I named my daughter after my Nana, whose name was Florence… Victoria Florence Margaret McClelland.
Victoria is my 5th perfect little treasure… she has a piece of my Nana in her, I know this. It’s in her eyes. It’s in her soul. It’s in her heart. My Nana sent me a beautiful gift.
About the contributor
Audrey McClelland, a social media consultant and brand advocate, is the founder of MomGenerations.com, an online destination for mothers. Audrey has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, the Rachael Ray Show, as well as The New York Times, New York Post, Parenting, Pregnancy, Redbook, etc. Audrey was named to Nielsen’s Power Moms list “The Power Pack”, naming her one of the most influential moms online.