Two weeks ago we added to our clan — Hutchins clan, that is. However, this addition came via one of our own children, second child and oldest son, who (with the help of his wife) produced a baby girl — our first grandchild. Surreal? For my son and daughter-in-law, yes. For my wife and I… well, we knew this day was coming, and being well-versed in the process of courting to delivery, we figured it’d happen one day with one of our 8 children. It just so happened it would be this couple, at this time. But, yeah, it’s still surreal.
They wrestled with two names and settled on one, Amelia, then gave her my grandmother’s first name as a middle name, Anne — Amelia Anne, it has a nice ring. It was a beautiful choice, seeing as my grandmother (the baby’s great, great grandmother) missed the birth by something like 7 weeks — 7 weeks; five generations alive all at once, and we missed it by 7 weeks. My grandmother died a few weeks following her 97th birthday. No one really saw it coming (albeit, it had been coming for years) because Nan (my grandmother) was slowly sliding into a new normal with eye degeneration, leading to blindness. And although her eyesight suffered, she was mentally and spiritually in tact — a strong, Christian woman, sound mind and spirit. Sure, her body lacked, but at 97th, most folks aren’t getting any younger. However, Nan expressed a willingness to hang in there and pose for a 5-generation photo with Amelia, my son, me, and my dad, so I’m sure her hasty departure was out of her own hands.
It’s a weird feeling to have missed that. Why? Because, like death, it’s gone forever — in a way. Nan will be missed, and Amelia’s birth will be celebrated year after year, but both will forever share a name that means “full of grace.” Deep inside I know that Amelia will carry on the spirit of a strong, Christian woman, sound in mind and spirit. If for no other reason, it’s in her blood.