“Perfect love sometimes doesn’t come until the first grandchild.”
Welsh Proverb

Dear David,
I am your Mommy’s father. She calls me Daddy, and I hope that you will call me Granddaddy.

It is hard to know where to begin in what I’d like to say to you. This past Saturday, the day you came out into the world, I got to hold you just a few short hours after you were born. How time flew back to the day when I first held your Mommy. It was as though it was all one: so much of my life summed up in holding two little babies…who look so much alike!

You made the whole world stand still for me. Just being there with you, holding you, all the cares of life seemed very far away. Thank you for bringing me back to myself; thank you for bringing me back to you, and all that really matters. In your blissful ignorance of so many passing things, you seem oh so aware of things that won’t pass: like the love in your Mommy and Daddy’s hearts, and in all your family’s hearts; and how good it is simply to be; here; together.

I have to admit, it was hard for me when it came time for me to leave you. I thought of how on your Mommy’s first night outside the womb she slept on my chest, and I got to hold her for hours. She was completely dependent on me and her Mommy (your Grandmother, whom we hope you will call Babstya—we’ll explain that to you one day); and we loved it. On Saturday night I had to say goodbye to you. You slept your first night on your Daddy’s chest and your Mommy’s breast. I’m so happy for all three of you.

You have helped me realize something very important about your Mommy, and all her brothers and sisters. They are ‘mine’ to hold, for just a little while. They are mine to serve and to love, forever. When you really love, you want to be with your beloved always. But sometimes for various reasons loving—at least in this life—means not being able to be together. At least not as much as you would like.

Perhaps the deepest aspect of being a parent is not that another person ‘belongs’ to me as ‘mine.’ It is rather that she is given to me, as my responsibility, under my care for a time. Amazingly, I can have some part in her becoming more fully her own self. And then she can be a parent too, wherein she will continue to grow into herself, ever while you her child do too! I stand in wonder at the generosity and the wisdom of the plan. I will try to understand it and live it better.

I think that the place of grandparents must be most of all to rejoice in the joy of their children, and their children’s children… and to share in it, even if from a little distance.

As a parent I have had the opportunity to learn just how much my love is not about me, but about my wife, and my children. And now… now you help me see that wonderful, if at times terrible, truth all the more. And that makes me very happy. Thank you, dear David, and may you be blessed to live and to grow in love, with your parents and all your loved ones, all throughout your life.

Love,
Granddaddy

Image: Evening #1, for both of us, in an exciting new world.

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