I am anxiously counting down the days until I get to meet and hold my grandson—my first grandchild. He was born just about a week ago but since he and his parents live almost 2000 miles away in California, this will be my first visit to see him in person. And while Facetime and text photos have been wonderful ways to get to see him since he was born, I know they will pale in comparison to actually holding him in my own arms and seeing him with my own eyes.
So where did this story begin? Well it all started in 2011 when first our oldest son and then our daughter got married. Since both expressed a desire to start their own family one day, I knew it would be just a matter of time before I became a granddaddy. But I had no idea what it would be like to actually become a granddaddy.
Upon reflection, I’ve known granddaddies all my life but I’ve never thought that much about what it would be like to become one myself. This thought was probably pushed to the back of my mind in those days of youth when I didn’t want to think of myself as being old. This is no doubt because the first granddaddies I knew were my parents’ fathers, and for my whole life, they seemed old and grey-headed.
When my sister had her first child, my own Dad became a granddaddy in his mid-forties, an age I certainly don’t think of as old today. And when our oldest son was born, my wife’s father (seen below) became a granddaddy for the first time and he too seemed relatively young then in his fifties.
So here I am in my late fifties, still young in my mind, becoming a granddaddy.
I actually found out that I had become a grandfather while at work. I was in a large communication meeting about some significant changes at work when my wife called me. For several days, I had been carrying around both my work cell phone and my personal cell phone just in case I needed to be reached quickly so recognizing that it was my wife calling, I hurriedly stepped out to take the call. My wife without giving me any other information simply said that my daughter wanted me to Facetime her. For a moment, I was in information overload between hearing the changes being announced and what it would mean to me and what my daughter wanted to tell me. Fortunately the fog in my head cleared, and I opened the Facetime app and dialed my daughter.
The faces of my daughter and son-in-law immediately greeted me. I surmised they were not in a familiar setting, which I confirmed to be the hospital when she asked me if I would like to meet my grandson. My son-in-law took the phone over so I could see him in his basinet. Thanks to the modern technology of Facetime, I got to see my grandson—2000 miles away—when he was just a couple of hours old for the first time while standing in the hall at work.
When my daughter told me his name and that he had been named after me, I was blown away. As I stood in the hall seeing my daughter’s bright smile just hours after she had delivered her first child, I was struck dumb and had no idea what to say. While I theoretically had had nine months to prepare for this moment, I seemed totally unprepared by this humbling surprise.
That night, I relayed to my daughter what an honor it was for her to name her first child after me, and was brought to tears when she replied that she had been planning that her whole life.
For her entire life, we have had a special relationship and my daughter has always been Daddy’s little girl; I just had no idea this would extrapolate to her first-born son as well.
I knew from when she was a very young age that she always wanted to be a Mom one day. And while a father can never fully appreciate the specialness of carrying and delivering a child, my daughter made it all the more special for me in this life-long planned event.
Over my whole life, I have witnessed what special relationships get built between a grandparent and a grandchild, the fun of being with and interacting with a young child who is learning so many things about our world. And I’ve been witness to that special relationship with my own kids and their grandparents. So now, even though I am a granddaddy—in title only—it is this special relationship that I look forward to building with my first grandson.