This weekend was my birthday celebration, Asher & Benjamin celebrate theirs next weekend. Rebecca gave me a guest post for a birthday gift. I'll share some of my first year with two grandchildren.
It's true - the grandchild experience is different than raising a
child. There's more time to savor the pleasure, less anxiety, more uninterrupted sleep, fewer diapers and a different perspective on this lap of the track.
I was surprised, the first time I gave a bottle to one of the boys, to suddenly remember giving my younger brother a bottle when he was a baby. My sister and I would sit next to each other, hold him across our laps, and the one who got the head would give him his bottle. It was a strange feeling to see my infant brother's face as I fed my grandchild.
There are also many echoes of parenthood. Nostalgia when we visited Rebecca & the newborns in the same hospital during the same season I visited my wife with newborn Rebecca & later her sister. Confidence in the cycle of life when Rebecca talks about the same parks where I took her & her sister. The continuity of family customs this weekend when we taught Asher & Ben "Diaper car" - put a child in an empty diaper box, then push him around the room at great speed... The same patience and pleasure to walk the two boys with my wife during breaks in a
restaurant meal, just as we had walked Rebecca and her sister.
We're still parents. I've been able to indulge my urge to nurture as we helped the young family through the challenges of bedrest and enjoyed the warmth of dinners in their bedroom. I was fascinated that, while I coached Eric through his first diaper change in the hospital, a few weeks later he gave me pointers to hone my rusty technique. I resurrected my football baby hold to walk a months-old grandchild to sleep. It was so sweet when the tender grip of his hands relaxed as he drifted off. It was an honor to be on call to walk restless grandchildren to sleep last spring and summer. Can you imagine being thanked for taking a delicious baby boy on a long quiet walk through a
summer evening? And there's nothing like hugging a still-damp baby bundled in a towel when helping at dinner / bath / bedtime.
Though all this can seem routine, we savor it because Benjamin & Asher are such happy, loving children. Rebecca's already learning how quickly the carousel of time turns, leaving only memories. We're truly
blessed to experience another round of such deep joy and to refresh the memory of our earlier turns.
I cannot imagine a finer gift - renewing and enlarging the wonder of family as two grandchildren grow in our sight and in our arms.