When I was growing up, my grandparents lived with us, and while it was perhaps not the greatest thing for my parents marriage, it was a gift for me. I was the only grandchild they had, so naturally they thought the sun rose and set at my feet. And yes, according to conventional wisdom, they "spoiled" me ~ not so much with material things, as with love and attention, which are certainly greater gifts in the long run. My grandmother often stayed up nights with me, comforting me with stories during my frequent asthmatic episodes. And she was the one who started me off on the piano, teaching me "Amzing Grace" and "The Blue Danube" waltz. My son also had the benefit of a close relationship with his grandmother, who lived just a short bike ride away. My parents were literally the only babysitters Brian ever had, and he considered their house "home." My mom was always available with a listening ear, a hot meal, and, yes, some extra cash if needed. She still delights in pampering him with his favorite foods, and has been busy shoring up the pantry in preparation for his visit next week. Grandmothers have been very important in this family. Now, it's my turn. This morning, Brian and Nantana called with the splendid, thrilling, exciting, and joyous news that they are expecting a baby! Grandchildren are marvelous additions to any family. But when you're an only child who is the daughter of an only child, the wife of an only child, and the mother of an only child~well, do the math. There are very few of us around the table at holiday time. So I'm more than excited about this baby. In many ways, I'm just plain relieved. Brian has no siblings, no cousins, no aunts or uncles - when Jim and I are gone, he would be completely alone in the world. Thinking about that was heartbreaking to me. But now - no worries. Children are the link to the future, your best "insurance policy" against isolation and lonliness. And yes, selfishly, I wanted all those unique and wonderful traits I love about my son - his creativity, his intelligence, his independence and quirky sense of humor - to be passed along, to continue to exist in the world. Combined with Nantana's good sense, determination, and caring nature, and with who knows what combination of characteristics from his or her Asian-Armenian-English-German-Irish-Scotch heritage - well, this child is bound to be quite a person. I can hardly wait!