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I'm thankful for a new life in the midst of changes

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The first sonogram photo of my granddaughter was tucked inside my Mother's Day card. (Jana J. Pruet)

It's been quite a year for me and my family.

About seven months ago, I officially joined the empty-nester club. And a few weeks later, I learned that I would soon become a grandmother. Now, before you start making any assumptions, let me explain.

I have three grown sons, Josh, Jarod, and Jeremy. My youngest, Jeremy, finished culinary school, started his career and moved into his own apartment in April.

Jeremy's leaving home left me with a feeling of loss and not because I'm not thrilled for him but because I'd been parenting for 32 years — literally my entire adult life. So empty-nesting was a bit more of a struggle than I had imagined it would be.

Then, on Mother's Day, Josh and my daughter-in-law Amy surprised me with an amazing gift — the news (and a sonogram picture) of my first grandchild. The excitement of this new little life joining our family sent me instantly over the moon (and into the mall, according to my husband).

Soon after, we found out, "It's a girl!" which translated into pink, pink, and more pink!

I quickly started preparing a room for sleepovers with Nana (yes, that's what I hope she'll call me). I began dreaming of the bows I'll put in her hair, the sound of her laughter and the excitement of Christmas mornings with this precious child.

A few months ago, during a sonogram, Josh and Amy learned that the baby has a hole in her heart and her pulmonary valve is too narrow. The doctors said she would need open-heart surgery to repair the problems after she's born.

On top of it all, the baby's growth has been slow, which doctors believe may be linked to her heart condition.

I'm so thankful for the technology that allowed the doctors to detect these issues before the baby's birth.

About a month ago, Amy's doctors decided it would be best to monitor her and the baby more closely so she was admitted to the hospital, where she has remained.

Although the baby isn't due until mid-December, she is scheduled to arrive Tuesday, if all goes as planned.

I'm in awe of the way my son and daughter-in-law have handled the situation with grace and their faith that God is in control.

Rather than focusing on their baby's health challenges, they've given thanks for the abundance of blessings in their life. The baby's development has been perfect in every other way and they've been surrounded by the love of their family, friends, co-workers and a wonderful community of doctors and nurses.

"At least we know what's going on and it's all fixable. It's just a temporary blip that has made us even more thankful for this baby girl," Amy told me recently.

Needless to say, we won't be spending Thanksgiving the traditional way this year. Instead, our family will take a restaurant-purchased meal to the hospital where we will find a room to gather, eat and give thanks to God for all he has done.

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