I realize that I am not the first to become a grandfather among all who will read this article. However, this is the first time for me.
Participating in the birth of a child and holding that child is an amazing experience and I will always treasure that moment. Touching that new life and watching it explore a new world reminds us of the wonder of life and how each of us is part of that great chain of life.
With a grandchild, an entirely different level of wonder begins. At the birth of your own child, there is the presence of responsibility to assure that this new life is cared for and nurtured. A parent is responsible for the future development and care for this new life. A grandparent may feel some of the same concerns, but the greater weight rests upon the parents. Grandparents get to play, entertain, and enjoy this new life without the pressure to parent.
I was blown away the first time I held Abigail. This life is the next generation of my family. The Vandervort family tree has a new branch. What fruit might this branch produce. As a father, I am thrilled that all my children have reached adulthood with responsibility and found people with whom they can share love and their futures. Now there is again a child in the family.
Having a granddaughter means I can go through the toy departments of stores, not to remember when or see how many of the “new” toys are the same ones with which my children played, but rather to seek new toys for Abigail. (As a grandfather I can contemplate buying the noisy toys that will stay in Memphis. Don’t tell Thomas and Andrea).
The biggest surprise came when it was time to leave for home. I enjoy getting away, but after a time I grow anxious to get back home. This time the larger desire was to stay longer. I do not expect that to change. The one thing that grandparents know with absolute certainty is that new baby smell is infinitely better than new car smell.