I'm a grandma

When I took over the position of doing "Sweetwater Notes" I had made a promise to myself and all of you that read my column. The promise was to use the column for everyone in the area and not for myself, personally. Sometimes that has been unavoidable because of what I do or where I have been and it has been a personal observation of places I have gone to in our area and I didn't know how to leave myself out of the situation I was trying to write about. But, this column is going to take on a very personal note - first, for my mother, Lola Tool, who is 87 and lives here at Topaz Lake, and, second, it is also for me.

It is too irresistible for me to become a grandmother for the first time and for my mother to be a great-grandmother again, to not say something about it. So with my apology made, please pardon my personal indulgence.

On Nov. 25, 2006, my mom became a great-grandmother for the 16th time. Granted, not all are blood related and were acquired through marriage but, she claims them all as hers just the same, because that is just the way she is. She has great-grandchildren scattered from Maine to Washington and many places in between, and, for me, I am a grandmother for the first time, which entitles me to a few bragging rights, too.

Little Erik Peter Hill was born on the afternoon of Nov. 25 to my youngest son, Roy Laurence "Chip" Hill Jr. and his wife Jennifer Fuller-Hill, who live in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

"Baby alert" began late in the evening of Nov. 24 and, through a sleepless night, as I waited for the all-important phone call, but, the phone call never came that night. Morning came and I was still in Nevada and no baby yet. When I got up in the morning, and still no "baby call" and after dealing with minor vehicle problems, I left to go down to the Sacramento area late in the morning of Nov. 25, not knowing what was going on.

By the time I got to the hospital, Erik had been born about an hour before I got there and the most beautiful first sight I saw was that of Erik in his father's arms, only to be kicked out of the room before I could even see him, close up and personal. How could those pesky nurses be so cruel to a new grandmother? So I waited, very impatiently, in the patio area of the hospital while they did what they needed to do and my very tired and bedraggled son, a new father, joined me. When, I was finally allowed to go in the room, to hold my grandson for the first time, "the most beautiful baby in the whole world," a guaranteed fact, I wasn't quite prepared for the rush of emotions I felt when I held him for the first time. There was one person missing and that was my mom ... her 16th great-grandchild had come into this world and I couldn't subject her to all the stress of that day. Pictures of him would have to keep her happy for the moment.

Six weeks later, the weather was right for a day trip to California and my mom's chance to meet our little Erik. What a special day. My oldest son, Mike, an uncle for the first time too, and taking great pride in that fact, as well as my mom and myself, met at my middle son, "Uncle John's" house in Folsom, Calif., and proceeded to son Chip and Jen's house to see our little Erik. To heck with the parents. What a wonderful day to see my mom hold another fourth-generation baby in her arms for the first time - an experience very few of us get to see in our lifetime and yet she had seen it five times, in our immediate family, before this day. I know, for me, there was no living fourth generation to hold me when I was born, so this was a special day for me too. It was a perfect day, one to be kept special in the memories of my lifetime.

There was my mom, and me, and my son, and his son ... what day of life continuing and generations going on, something I thought I would never see. Poor little Erik was passed around like a football, which is something he will have to get used to because I know his father's passion in life. "Go 49ers" Chip said as he produced a suit that he brought out of the closet displaying the colors of the San Francisco 49ers, still too big for little Erik to wear but Chip still laid it on top of him as if to measure it for size and hope that Erik might have grown into it overnight.

Life renewing itself, in the form of a grandchild, is one of the most life affirming experiences in the world. Until you have felt it and been there, you will pass off what I am saying as just a proud grandmother bragging, but it is so much more than that. To see my mother holding yet another generation in her arms - when she held me, then her grandson and then to see her able to hold her great-grandson - is my guarantee that life does continue and that all of us never really die. A part of us goes on and on.

So, here's to my mom, to me, to my son and his wife and here is to our little Erik who is here to assure that we all keep on keepin' on.

n Jonni Hill can be reached through The Record-Courier at jhill@recordcourier.com or by calling 782-5121, ext. 213, or after hours at JHILL47@aol.com


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