On December 1, 2007 at 1:32 p.m. my life changed forever.  I was introduced to Darwin Orion Murray.

At about 10 p.m. the evening before I received a telephone call from my son-in-law, Avery.  Kirsten and Avery were on their way to the hospital. Even though they said I could wait for a bit before I came to the hospital, after that call I was not able to concentrate on much else.  It was frosty and about 30 below as I drove into the city.

My daughter is, and has always been, an amazing kid. I gained a new respect for her watching the last stage of labour.

My own mom was a vibrant, strong willed woman. I have four sisters and two daughters.  Imagine my surprise when my daughter delivered a healthy baby boy. I hadn’t even thought that could happen.  

On April 28, 2010 at 3:45 p.m. I again witnessed the miracle of birth. A healthy baby girl. I shed a few tears of joy when I was introduced to Aria Nellie.

Both births were uncomplicated and as natural as could be.  The doctors and nurses, while there for assistance and advice, let Nature take her course. Even though the hospital setting is a foreign concept in the history of human birth, it was a great place to be.

I enjoyed the first few years – cuddling, watching milestones like the first step or the first word.  But I love them as little people.  At seven years old and five years old – well my favourite stage so far. They are so eager to experience life. I am happy not to be a Skype Grandma.  Just spending time – whether a walk in the woods or a sleepover – is very special.   

I know quite a few other grandmas in Whitehorse. While some of us might spend time knitting in our rocking chairs, we are also healthy and active. Walkers, runners, hikers, paddlers, the grandmas I know are setting great examples for the little children in their lives.  

My girls grew up north of Whitehorse in the boreal forest. I was a free range parent back then.  The girls spent hours out in the bush making forts and digging in the sand hill created after the building of our house. They learned how to run a dog team with their father. I called them my bush babies.

Now Darwin and Aria are able to come out to Grandma’s place. Aria recently told me she knows why I like wild animals.  

“You live in the wilderness, Grandma” she said.  

I had never thought of it quite like that, but she does live in the city. And even though it is a small northern city, it is different than Grandma’s forest. I love sharing the forest with the little kids.Walking to the Yukon River along the “fox den” trail, visiting the faerie garden down a little path away from the house, crafts with glue, scissors and paper. Just listening to their ideas – wow, when I was that age, did I know who “the other Darwin” was? Did I know about moon eclipses and dead flies under microscopes?  

Being a grandma is a delightful experience. Whitehorse is really a safe and nurturing home town. Being a grandma here is extra special.Having my little people live so very close where I can watch them blossom as human beings – I am honoured.