Wednesday, March 9, 2011
A baby. That’s what she’s expecting. My first grandchild. I’ve seen the ultrasounds and can say, objectively and unequivocally, that I have the best looking Grandfetus, ever.
My daughter, who is very bright, an accomplished poet and writer of stuff, is, with her husband’s assistance, in the process of her most ambitious, most creative arts and crafts project to date. She’s making a human. Way to go. When I was kid, I used to make model airplanes that actually flew, but this is way more impressive.
Meanwhile, my head’s being attacked by grandfatherly instincts which… I don’t know where they’re coming from, but they’re beginning to scare me. I fly occasionally on business and, lately, I’ve had trouble resisting the temptation to buy little baby t-shirts at the airports with the names of the cities where I’ve landed. I was thinking they would make for chit chat during play dates with other babies. I’m not sure about the other kids, but my grandchild will be able to talk at birth, like the E*TRADE baby, only more literate. (My son-in-law’s getting his Ph.D. in History. That should help.) Thank goodness I first got the idea landing in Charlotte where I decided not to buy one over concerns that a shirt with a person’s first name on it might confuse someone just learning his/her own.
When my kids were babies, I used to carry them around the house, walk around the mall, pointing at stuff, talking to them like they could understand everything I said. They would look at me and then at where I was pointing or what I was holding, occasionally making noises with their mouths that I was certain were words and sentences in the making. Every expression on their faces, and body language, became a meaningful, always highly intelligent and often humorous comment or suggestion. And then one day, in what seemed like no time at all, they started doing all the talking and teaching me things. As a new father, I thought it was the time of my life, until I realized how wonderfully interesting my kids were at every stage of their lives, even now. Maybe especially now.
Anyway, in a few months, if my daughter and son-in-law let me, I get to start all over, having really long conversations with my Granddaughter or –son. Doesn’t make any difference. We’re going to look at stuff, talk about business and politics, about building things, about the sky and about the birds and the squirrels on our deck. And she/he’ll sit next to me on the kitchen table while I write, giving me her/his critical advice. At first, the conversations will be pretty much one-sided until one day, soon enough, he/she’ll look at me, smile and say, “Hey. So what are we going to talk about today, Grandpa?” or, more likely, “I really don’t think you need the comma before that “too,” a pudgy little finger tapping my screen.
Now how cool is that?