As many of you know, I am now officially a grandpa. Riley Harper Dice debuted on the same day as did 2017. People have asked me if I feel any different now and the honest answer is no, at least on the outside; however, the warm spot inside me is warmer now, the joy inside me has grown, and my wonder at the world has increased.
We tend to miss that stuff when we become parents. Raising kids often crowds out reflecting upon them. This is why parents cry at graduations and weddings and even 7th grade Christmas concerts, because Mom and Dad finally have a chance to sit still and think, “Wow, it seems that I just brought her home from the hospital and now she’s sitting up there playing the clarinet!” Of course, they will also reflect upon how very few seventh graders sing well, especially as that white-shirted gaggle makes its assault upon “Silent Night,” but I digress.
A prime responsibility of a grandparent is to encourage our own children to savor every moment of theirs.
I find myself smiling every time I see Riley blink open her eyes and look around (okay, that’s maybe like six times so far, but it’s still 100% of the time) and I can read her little mind. Aunt Sarah questioned whether babies have any thoughts at all, but of course, they do. And they all think the same thing:
Zzzzz . . . milk, milk, milk . . . poop, poop, poop . . . zzzzz, milk, milk, poop . . . zzzzz . . . Oh boy! A nice warm bath and a fresh diaper! POOP, POOP, POOP . . . zzzzz
Babies keep it simple like that. They’re just alive and that’s more than I can say for many adults who mistake being busy for living. They mistake worrying for concern, and rigidity for consistency, and habit for actual thinking. So many people don’t dare stick a foot out from under the blanket and wiggle their toes in the world. Babies are wise.
Having the title of grandpa does make me feel a bit older, but I am quite sure that being a grandpa will make me feel younger. So, that’s the deal, Riley. I’ll help you become an adult, you help me become a child.