I recently returned from visiting our daughter and son-in-law and meeting our grandson for the first time. I previously wrote on what it was like becoming a granddaddy—now I can write on what it is like being a granddaddy.
Our scheduled trip was to coincide with our grandson being about two weeks old but since he came a little earlier than expected, he was actually three weeks old when we got to see him. We arrived on a Thursday and after checking into our hotel, we zipped over to the home of our daughter and son-in-law. Having seen my grandson only through digital technology since his birth, it was incredible to get to see him with my own eyes.
My wife was first to get to hold him and so I had to patiently wait for most of that first day before I finally got my chance to hold him.
I fell in love with him with the first touch. I don’t think I have held a baby this young since I held our own children many, many years ago. I couldn’t stop smiling at him and I couldn’t stop staring at him. When I forwarded this picture of me to my colleagues at work, one replied that she had never seen me smile that big at work. I guess I never had a reason like this to smile that way.
Our first day with him ended too soon but not before we had a chance to share the small gifts we had brought to our grandson—from me, books that I used to read to our own kids when they were little and from my wife, clothes and a baptismal gown that our own children had worn.
Over the next several days, we got into a wonderful routine. We would awake early in the morning, shower, and then head over to make our daughter’s favorite coffee—Peet’s special made by her daddy—and to take on our baby duties. Throughout the day, we would alternate holding him, feeding him, and changing him. And I just couldn’t get enough of him.
When he was sleeping in his basinet, I would pull up a chair next to him to read so I could pat him if he fussed. If he were extra fussy before falling asleep, I would bounce with him on an exercise ball to calm him and sing the same little sweet song my wife used to sing to our kids to calm them. Whenever I would rock him until he fell asleep, I was hesitant to put him down in his bed since it felt so good to just hold him, the touch of his head so soft and his fine blond hair so delicate. After he was asleep, I would continue to watch him and would occasionally be rewarded with a precious smile or a laugh and grin in his sleep. And when I got to feed him, he would make the most wonderful sounds while he was sucking down his milk—sounds I can’t even describe in words but a sound that expressed sheer love and happiness.
When he was seriously into eating, he would furrow his brow and make the most precious facial expression. Each evening would end with the five of us sharing dinner together and getting the little fellow down for the night.
We had a few firsts while we were there.
We took him on his first ever stroll at the university campus close by.
We took him for his first dinner out at an outdoor restaurant on campus.
And we, as new grandparents, baby sat him for the first time so his parents could have their first date alone since his birth.
Our visit was planned for eight days, longer than we had visited with them before. When I unpacked my clothes upon our arrival at the hotel, I made a neat stack of clean things to wear. Each day, I removed one item; I was pleased to see a tall stack left which meant many more days. However, as the days wore on and that stack got shorter and shorter, I became more and more sad that our visit was coming to a close.
It was bitter sweet for me on our last full day to open that drawer and find just two items left, one for that day and one for the following travel day. As we drove to our daughter’s home that morning for the last time, I know I had sad thoughts about it being our last trip over; I’m sure my wife did as well.
Throughout the day, I kept thinking this was the last time I would get to do this or that. And that night when we left their home for the last time, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It was heart breaking giving our grandson one last kiss and then having to walk out the door and to the car for the last drive back to the hotel.
Upon reflecting back on our visit, it reminded me of another special time in our daughter’s life. It was one of the most special days of my life when I walked my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. On that day, thoughts of a grandchild were far from my mind. But I know now that getting to meet my first grandson ranks right up there with my daughter’s wedding day. Words cannot describe the emotions of seeing the child of your own child, the extra special connection across three generations.
I commented several times over the week that I was really enjoying this being a granddaddy. I also commented several times how happy and proud I was of my daughter and son-in-law for the sweet little child that they had brought into the world. Although our trip was the longest time we had visited with our daughter and son-in-law, it was way too short of a time with our grandson. So until our next visit, it will be back to digital technology to see our grandson. And once we book our next flight out for a visit, I will count down the days until I can get my hands on that little fellow again and be granddaddy, once again in person.