Laguna Beach – Early Intervention Program Works

Rock-a-Bye Babies

It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I am currently the grandmother of 10 and a great-grandmother of two. Even more, being a grandmother in this technologically intense world means more face time on Skype or Facebook so that I can access current photos and captured moments before my children’s children are fully grown.

Still, my arms get itchy to hold a newborn and to have the exquisite pleasure of contentedly rocking and gazing into their crystal clear eyes.

A few years ago now, I wrote my column about the early intervention program that is a unique, fully funded program offered by the Laguna Beach Assistance League that addresses the needs of babies who have Down Syndrome or are born premature. This free program is one of the Assistance League’s many philanthropic programs. The funds to pay for it come from sales from the Assistance League Thrift Shop at 526 Glenneyre St. All items sold are donated and member volunteers run the shop.

Every Wednesday morning, one of the components of the program is that volunteers meet in the large, colorful room that has rocking chairs set up in a circle so that the babies can be held and rocked while their parents have time with EIP therapists.

I was so impressed with the program that I joined and I treasure this time with the babies and the other volunteers and have made this weekly commitment a priority in my schedule.

My time at the Assistance League gives me my baby fix since my babies are out of arms reach.

Long-distance grandmothering is tough, but there are perks that come through Skype, e-mails and Facebook and I am thankful for these opportunities to connect.

My youngest daughter, Sara, is expecting her second child, a boy, in a few weeks. She is currently in their home in New Zealand. For the past two years she, her husband, and daughter have lived in Pakistan and then the Philippines, where they are engaged in humanitarian work. Their first born, Aroha, will be 3 this month.

I love it when I open my computer and find a video message from Sara and Aroha. Last week, I received an extra special one. Up close and personal, the video is honed in on the baby mountain that is the proof that this new little one is almost ready to enter our lives.

Sara and Aroha are sitting next to each other watching Sara’s stomach move like a small, contained earthquake. “Our baby is moving, Aroha. I think that’s his butt right here.” Sara points to the rise and fall of her stomach.

Lounging right next to her is Aroha, with her shirt lifted up and her tummy flexing up and down, as she reports: “My baby is moving too!” Sara’s gentle response, “I can see that.” “What do you want to tell baby, Aroha?”

With great surety, she shifts her body so that she can put her face up close to Sara’s tummy and says, “I love you, baby!” Her big, blue eyes sparkle with sincerity.

We continue to wait as this special event moves closer.

Each time I am blessed with the miraculous gift of a new life, I anticipate another opportunity to expand my capacity to fall in love once again.