Cooper Cash Smith

by underswansea


It’ s an amazing thing. Tom called us at 7am, said Kelsie had been in labour since 3. He sounded calm. I said, Holy Shit!

They live in Calgary a good three hours away. Tom said they would wait as long as they could before going to the hospital. We took off through the mountains. Stopping once to get fuel and let Willow pee.

About an hour away from the city, Tom phoned again, said the contractions were about 4 minutes apart so they were going to go to the hospital. He sounded like he was trying to sound calm.

Lisa was going in the delivery room. I was a little more aggressive on the roads. The old Ford looked back at me as if to say, ‘what the fuck is up?’ But she never let me down.

They were 15 minutes away from the hospital. We were an hour. As I pulled up to the entrance Tom and Kelsie were walking in. How’s that for timing?

Lisa jumped out. Kelsie leaned up against a garbage can to have a contraction. I saw her mother 28 years earlier, looking the same, with me rubbing her back wondering, ‘good lord, what have we got ourselves in to?’

I hightailed to their house and let Willow and Gemma run. Then I hightailed it back to the hospital. Maddy was there to meet me.

We sat in the waiting room on the first floor. Kelsie, Tom and Lisa were on the sixth floor. Lisa kept us updated with texts and photos.

Maddy looked at the photos different than me. I saw Kelsie like I saw her Mom, focused and intent. I knew she was doing well. Maddy, on the other hand, saw her pain and it hurt her to see her sister and best friend in such a state. She enlarged the pictures on her phone until it was only Kelsie’s face. Then Maddy looked at me with worry. I told her that’s why they call it labour.

Maddy and I decided to spot celebrities in the hospital. This is a game we used to play, killing time, at the mall.

We saw:

A young Dakota Fanning

Pablo Picasso

Lee Marvin

A lady from Sister Wives

Pete Seeger

Ricky’s Dad Ray (from trailer park boys)

Lorne Michaels

Martha Stewart

Cameron Diaz

Mark Ruffalo

Liam Neeson

Maddy Ross

David Crosby

Emma Stone

Vin Diesel

Anna Leibovitz

Luka Magnotta

Charles Bukowski

and Lucy Liu

Finally we got the call. The baby was born. He was beautiful and healthy. Kelsie was great. His name is Cooper Cash.

Maddy could rest. But she didn’t. She wanted up in the room. We walked outside. To the parking lot. And then we got to go see him.

Kelsie did wonderfully. Tom was there, doing everything right, smiling for his little boy. Lisa looked vibrant, she was glowing. Maddy cried when she held Cash. Maddy’s heart is huge. She feels everything.

Cooper is beautiful. Perfect in every way. He felt strong when I held him. He looked at me with his dark eyes. He is loved, deeply. I know he knows it. He is autonomous already. I felt it in my arms.

Tom and Kelsie love each other beyond high. I knew it before, but it was so apparent on this day. They have loved each other since grade nine. Now they have someone to share their love with. I couldn’t be prouder or happier for them.

It doesn’t seem that long ago for Lisa and I when Kelsie was born. Now here we are, true, equally unsteady. We were once young, confident in ourselves but unconfident with the world. Now we are old, unconfident in ourselves (it’s the aches and pains) but confident in the world.

A grandson has a way of changing your perspective.