|Carter, My First Grandchild|
Friday was a miracle day. They happen so infrequently in life, but when they do, you usually know exactly what they are. At 9:29 PM Carter came into our lives. We have all been changed forever.
My last miracle happened about 13 years ago. I was standing on the sidewalk outside my house when Shannon, Carter’s mom, then about 14, approached her mom and me. At that time, I was just the guy that had been dating her mom the last couple years. Or so I thought. It seems Shannon had made an over zealous teenage mistake, and she fell into my arms in tears. I adopted a daughter that day. She felt safe with me, and we have been together ever since. She is in my heart and soul and I love that girl as one of my own.
Friday was Carter’s big miracle day. I hid back in the corner to give Shannon her privacy, while her mom and her husband, Chris, handled the labor and delivery duty. One second it was just them and the next, Carter was there.
Friday night was a busy night. Pictures and all that stuff. He and I just talked small talk that night. Introductory stuff, you know: football, how big he was, and how good he looked. I told Carter we’d talk more tomorrow. Grandpa stuff, you know. I was a rookie at it, but I knew our time was coming.
The next day we got some alone time. I told him all this preconceived nickname “papadada” stuff was well and good, but I’d go with whatever he wanted to call me. There was no disagreement there. He was calling the shots nicknaming this Grandpa.
We moved on to more heady stuff. I explained that most of his family are Republicans, but we have a few Democrats scattered in the crowd. As long as he was respectful to every one’s right to have his or her own opinion it would all work out. All he could do was try to work towards compromise for the good of all of us. I got a quizzical look but knew he was considering the concept. He would be making up his own mind.
Religion and spirituality were next on the agenda. Carter couldn’t add much to the discussion, being such a newbie. I just suggested he be open to the possibility of a higher being and watch for the miracles, the beauty in the world, and in people around him. I promised to help him see the world. The rest was up to him. I think he was grateful. We ended the conversation for Saturday. We were both exhausted.
Sunday was another busy day for us. We started with “girls” and I got the: “What are you talking about, Grandpa?” look. “I’m only two days old.” I reminded him that his Mom and Grandma were girls and very special people in his life. They would look after him, love and nurture him until he could spread his wings, and they would continue to do the same from afar as he set out on his own path. He needed to respect all woman for their special place in all our lives. With a whimper he headed off to Mom for some breakfast. “Carter, I told you so. See what I mean?” “By the way, buddy. Look for a girl just like your Mom to be your partner in life someday.”
After breakfast we spent some time on other relationships and loyalty. I told Carter I knew he was going to grow up to be an Atlanta Braves fan, but if he had a moment it would be nice if he could cheer for the Chicago “Cubbies” every once in awhile. They need a helping hand, and helping those less fortunate than you will go a long way in building character. A World Series for the “Cubbies” would be good for the country and he’d get a kick out of the fact that he supported the underdog when their big day came. We can never forget those less fortunate than us, or those serving our country.
And for other relationships, he squawked at this one. I was about to sing a line from a country and western song and his little ears were not quite ready for the onslaught. I sang from Eric Church and “How ‘Bout You” –
“If I look you in the eye, shake your hand, you can bet your ass, it’ll be the truth.”
We both squirmed as that’s a tough one at times. Maybe he just had gas. But the point was made and I heard what I’d told my grandson.
Only one topic left and it was crickets and fishin’. When I as a kid, my Grandpa took me fishin’ for bluegills on his pontoon boat. We’d use cane poles and pencil bobbers with crickets for bait. The bluegills were as big as the palm of his hand. Grandpa always hooked the cricket from the back of the neck and then down and out the tail. For some reason I did mine just the opposite, starting at the tail. He’d laugh and laugh at my foolishness but let me do it my own way. The laugh was on Grandpa when I caught more bluegills than he did. Carter could bait his hook any way he wanted, I told him, but watch the results of your actions and you’ll learn a thing or two along the way. Sometimes being stubborn can be a fault, and you are never too old or young to learn.
We’d covered a lot of ground in our first two days together. I reached down and kissed his grandma and mom goodbye as I headed back to Hilton Head. I tapped Carter on his bottom through the breastfeeding blanket and said, “Hey buddy, we forgot to talk about alliances. Down here in the South, everything goes through Atlanta, so I guess Delta and SkyTeam will be your alliance of choice.”
As I left the room I could have sworn I heard him say: “Mom, Grandpa’s been talking about alliances since I met him. Besides, did he forget? I get two years free ‘Infant in Arms’?”
Smart boy, that Carter. We’re gonna get along just fine. And I’m gonna learn a thing or two along the way.