I don’t know if I’m asleep or awake. My head is in a fog, filled with cotton yet heavy as a bowling ball. It’s teeter-tottering on my neck, my body underneath sore & restless & trying to nod back off. This is jetlag in it’s full glory. The word jetlag is so glamorous, so rich, and yet the actual feeling is torture.

Dane & I are home. After a day of flights from Columbus, OH to Detroit, MI to Amsterdam, NL to Stuttgart, we are home. We slept in our own beds. Bed. Dane slept with me, not quite ready to give up his family time just yet. And we slept hard. All at the wrong hours. Awake again in the middle of the German night, eating a midnight snack at 3 am with wide-awake eyes, wishing to be asleep but our bodies protesting.

Now during the most productive part of my day, normally, I’m struggling. I’m in a fog. So much of me wants to go back to bed. I want to sleep. Partly because my body is screaming at me that it’s bedtime, partly because I miss my kids, Dave, my new grandson. I left so much of my heart back in America, at least when I’m asleep my dreams are usually filled with all the people I miss so much when I’m awake.

I didn’t expect to meet my grandbaby until October. When life changed it’s mind and I got to meet him at six weeks, I didn’t expect to fall in love so quickly or so deeply. How is it possible to love someone so small, so much? He’s not even 9 pounds. He’s tiny. And he holds my entire heart.

Declan still smells like baby. His skin is incredibly soft and irresistible. I held him as much as I could, Tess battling me for time, even Dane clamoring to get in some baby time. I discovered that he absolutely loves baths, diaper changes are his favorite, and the sunroof in his car fascinates him. He’d just had his first smiles when I arrived and in my days at his house Declan was discovering what he liked to smile at. It wasn’t me.

Soren says his first smile was at him. I saw him smile the most at his mom, and at uncle Christian, and his little monkey. Not at me. I managed to get some smile pictures at his mom, babies are very hard to photograph. Declan makes a million-and-one faces in every minute. Trying to get a good one, a smiling one, when he is facing the camera, is a very difficult feat.

Thursday morning got there too fast. Declan had a couple of rough nights, maybe all the visitors were too much. Maybe he’s growing. It is true that he’s suddenly out of newborn and in his 3 months clothes. They are a little big, but the newborn outfits are all too tight. It’s going so fast. I walked him in the hallway, singing Dutch lullabies to this very American grandson, dreading every step. Knowing it was almost time to take the last one with him in my arms.

Finally, it was the last step. I handed him back to Lindsay, blinking back tears. Being brave. And silly. I’m always silly when I’m trying not to cry. I made my goofiest face at him. The one where I touch my tongue to my nose, my only party trick, and suddenly… he smiled! Declan smiled a big, huge grin right at me! And everyone saw. And giggled. Because. I had a very silly face.

“Do it again!” Christian and Lindsay urged. I did it again. Declan smiled again! This was one of his favorites! ME! I am one his favorites. Christian whipped out his phone, urged me to do it again & caught a picture. A big, wide, toothless smile from Declan. At me. My heart is melting and my tears are flowing just looking at that picture again this morning.

The miles are too far. Germany is too far. My house is too quiet. Today is a very hard day.

Uncle Dane & Declan

Auntie Tess & Dane

Soren, me & Declan (photo by Dane)

Declan smiling at ME!

Dane sleeping at all the wrong hours