It’s the oldest story in the world: Baby gets born and everybody wants a piece of the action. Especially the new grandparents.

I’m one of those new grandparents, the grandmother of a six-pound, 15-ounce little girl born August 8, 2015, in Seattle. Her name is Ellie. I’m so delighted about Ellie that I’m sure people will start avoiding me soon – me and my slightly hysterical grin, my constant gushing, and my ever-expanding cache of cute photos.

As usual, I exaggerate, but not that much. It’s a funny feeling to have your heart expand and ache with new love when you’re 65. And it’s hard not to tell everybody way too much about it – like my yoga class, my hairdresser, all my friends, store clerks, random acquaintances, and total strangers. Hard! But I try to keep a lid on it.

Right now, what I want more than anything is for my granddaughter to know me. I want to play some kind of role in her life.

But I live 1770 miles from Seattle — in Austin, that irrepressible blue dot in the center of Texas. And, like anyone my age with a reasonable grasp on reality, I wonder how many good years I have left. After all, both my parents declined precipitously once they turned 70. I take good care of myself, but who knows? One day, you’re kicking up your heels, the next day, you’re drooling in the corner.

That’s why I’ve decided to write this new blog, Love, Coco XO – so my granddaughter can know me someday. Like most of my written projects (no, really, like most of my life), I’m not quite sure how it will turn out; I do have a certain faith in letting things evolve as they will. But I want to tell Ellie about what I’ve learned over the years, where our family came from, what it’s like to be a woman in this whacked-out world, what I think is important, what I think is pure swill.

I’m not writing to that little baby with the deep blue eyes. I’m writing to that older girl she’ll become – that curious adolescent with a wise-acre sense of humor and a tender heart, that young woman who will go places I’ve never dreamed of. If I ever get preachy or self-righteous, please cut off my oxygen supply.

— Ruth Pennebaker
October 2015

Books by Ruth Pennebaker

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