I didn’t cry when I first held my grandson, Carter. I thought I would. Frankly I was surprised I didn’t. As I have gotten older and come to grips with some things from the past I have become much more emotional. Heck, I cry in the greeting card aisle reading Mothers’ Day Cards. I just figured that there would be tears when my son Parker placed his baby son in my arms.
Don’t get me wrong . . . the feeling was profound. This tiny little person with a shock of dark hair and giant baby hands came from my son and his wife. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would feel when I first looked at him. It was just right . . . and calm . . . and good. But I didn’t cry the first time I held Carter. That would come when I watched him with his mother and father.
My son is a father. I get almost dizzy every time I have that thought. I am not surprised that he is a father. He told me almost 10 years ago that what he couldn’t wait to be a father. He was 16 and I probably didn’t take that as well as I could have . . . there were raised eyebrows and stern looks. I remember the hormone free-for-all that was my metabolism at 16 and I had no doubt what he wanted. He smiled at me the way he has always smiled at me and explained that he watched me being a father to him and his brothers and he was looking forward to the day that he could be a dad. I wasn’t convinced so much then. I am convinced now.
Watching Parker with his son is pure emotion for me. Watching his face light up when he walks into the house after work and sees his wife and son is pure magic. Even at this young age Carter responds to his Daddy. As I watch them together I get a profound feeling of time passing and of completed circles. I feel something that is new and profoundly timeless simultaneously. I am one in a long line of fathers that have watched their sons become fathers and it is a very good feeling.
Seeing my daughter-in-law with her child makes me smile. I have known this woman since she was 14 years old. I watched her transform from little girl to young woman to mother. I can see that girl I met years ago in her eyes as she holds my grandson. They are beautiful to watch as they eye-gaze and talk to each other. I have a feeling that one of Carter’s favorite sounds will be of his mother saying his name. I say his name and it is words . . . she says it and it sounds like lyrics and melody. She has assumed this role seamlessly and naturally.
Time with my grandson is precious. I hold him when I can, but mostly he sleeps. That is his job right now. I learned long ago not to wake up a baby that is sleeping. So I sometimes I slip into his room and watch him or I watch him as his mother holds him. And I smile. He is perspective for me. He completes a cycle that continues as soon as it is complete. He will grow . . . he will have siblings (I am pretty sure about that). They will grow and learn and bring joy to people’s lives. Then they will have children and place them in their parents’ arms.
It is the way of things. Time passes. I don’t really feel old enough to be a grandfather, but I am not really sure how old you have to feel. I feel old enough to be at this point in the cycle, but not old enough for it to stop. I am in a unique position. I have a grown son and a grandson, but I also have two younger sons. They have their own journeys and their own cycles and their own stories. It will be fun to watch those play out. Someday, I expect them to place their children in my arms and I will have these feelings all over again. But I don’t think I will cry. That, apparently, comes later.
Thank you for reading and we will talk again soon on This Side of the Diaper.