By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor

This past weekend, my husband and I once again packed up the car and headed up 81 to visit our three sons. It was a quick trip up and back as we left early Saturday morning, spent the night and were back on the road Sunday afternoon.
We have traveled this route many times in the 10 years we have lived in Johnson County. It’s not going to change anytime soon as our youngest son is expecting his first baby.
The purpose of our trip this last weekend was to attend a gender reveal party. After a few hours of anticipation and holding onto a box full of pink or blue confetti, the moment finally arrived in a shower of pink announcing our new granddaughter. They have decided to name her Zoe.
The boys were all close to Phil’s mother, but it was still a surprise when they announced Zoe’s middle name would be Roselyn, after the woman they lovingly called Grammer. Roselyn moved with us to Tennessee and her grandsons had the opportunity to really get to know her and enjoy her sense of humor.
It wasn’t uncommon in our house to have my mother and grandmother over for long weekends as family has always been important and an integral part of our lives. Our home was always open, and was often filled not only with close family, but friends and cousins who found themselves needing a place to stay.
When I was young, my parents and I lived in the same house with my grandparents. Nanny, as most of the cousins called her, was always there for us and loved us unconditionally, no matter what. As my brother and I grew older, my grandparents bought a house across the street. My cousins lived next door. We lived in row homes that had been built during World War II for those who worked at the nearby torpedo factory.
To say we all lived close by each other was an understatement. I could hear my cousins running water in their bathroom. Up until he was four, my husband also lived in a house with both his parents and grandparents. When his parents bought a house, it was four houses away. Growing up surrounded by family was very much how we both grew up.
My grandmother was my rock. Although I loved my mother very much, Nanny was the one I ran to when I needed comfort, when I needed her hugs and needed someone to listen.

She loved each of us unconditionally, no matter what we had done. She disciplined each of us if we needed it, and all of the cousins could close their eyes and once again see her shaking her finger at them as she put her hands on her hips, telling us “Now, you listen here.”

This is what I want for Zoe. Our lives were full because of our families. I want to continue those important family values and be an integral part of her life. I want Zoe to have the kind and loving grandparents my husband and I had. I want her eyes to light up when she sees Nanny and Papa walk in through her front door. I can’t imagine it any other way. I want her surrounded by family, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. Even though she isn’t due to arrive until mid-January, this baby girl has stolen our hearts.