On September 11, while others in the United States remembered the anniversary of a national tragedy, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our first grandson. I waited a long time for him, not with any sense of urgency but with much anticipation for the joy his arrival would bring. Now he’s here, and I’m reminded once again of the awesomeness of life. And although biased, I think he’s the most beautiful baby ever.
In seeing him, I’m mindful that babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Though my daughter and her husband have prepared well and are doing a great job, I know they will learn some things only through experience and after a few errors. Surely, they will make a some mistakes along the way, just as their respective parents did in raising them.
When my grandson was one week old, I asked his parents what surprised them the most so far. For my daughter it was the realization of just how important sleep was; my son-in-law voiced surprise over the amount of time a baby requires.
I remember my trepidation when I first held my daughter; I scarcely breathed for fear she might break. Each evening I gave her a bottle, and then she fell asleep in my arms. Later, I did the same for her brother.
However, when I first held my grandson, there was no apprehension, only excitement. My parent skills came back to me quickly. This is a delightful phase in my life. I relish having grandchildren.
Although I like having grandchildren, the idea of being a grandfather is jarring. I suspect, though, that will all change in an instant, at that future moment when my grandson looks up at me and says for the first time, “Grandpa.”
And my heart will melt.
[This is from the October 2013 issue of Peter DeHaan’s newsletter. Sign up to receive the complete newsletter each month via email.]