My wife and I recently became grandparents. Our grandson came into this world surrounded with a lot of love. For the first time in my life, I’m a grandpa. The best assessment I’ve ever read of how a child can change a person comes from that expert on family relationships: Alice Mitchell. She’s the mom of comic strip character Dennis the Menace.
Her view on how grandfather’s change comes in a recent cartoon where we see Dennis playing with his dad. Dennis’ grandfather remarks how amazing it is that a boy can make a man out of his father. Alice responds by saying, “And a boy out of his grandfather.”
I’d like to offer my special welcome, along with some grandfatherly observations, to my grandson. Some of my reflections come from experiences with my two grandfathers. Most of it comes from experiencing firsthand what it’s like to be a grandchild.
Welcome to the world little boy.
This is Earth grandson. It’s a unique spot, and now it’s a special place because you are here.
You came into this spot two months early, but you put up with all the tubes and monitors that helped make you stronger. You also had the help of some wonderful medical professionals who have made it their life’s work to help little folks like you. They helped you until you were well enough to leave the hospital and start living at home.
You have two wonderful parents. I know one of them real well. Your Mom was a bundle of joy, someone who enjoys an adventure, and someone who truly loves her family. You already know this, but she’s a great Mom. Dad is a good guy too. I’ve known him about ten years now and I know he’s the real deal. You are in excellent hands.
Someday, I hope your parents will take you to the family reunion on your grandma Newvine’s side of the family. They take lots of pictures throughout the reunion day, but the part I like is after the midday meal when they line up each generation of relatives for a special set of group photos. You may not think much of it at first, but my experience has been you’ll grow to appreciate those generation photographs in later years.
Someday, you might visit my hometown.
If you see it in the summer, you’ll enjoy county fairs, weekend picnics, and extended family in practically every surrounding village. If you visit in the winter, be prepared to see lots of snow. You can take part in downhill and cross-country skiing, ride a snowmobile, and build up your muscles when someone hands you a snow shovel after a big storm.
As you get to know me, you’ll find I like a lot of things young people enjoy. I keep a kite in the garage and know a perfect open field near our house where we can fly it on a breezy spring day.
When you get older, I’ll take you to a driving range where we can hit a bucket of golf balls. On cold days, we can stay inside and put together a jigsaw puzzle.
When I was about ten years old, my Grandpa on my mom’s side of the family took me and a load of scrap metal to a junkyard. The people at the junkyard weighed the car before and after we unloaded the cargo. My Grandpa was paid for the scrap metal by the pound. Upon leaving the junkyard, he took me out for breakfast.
It’s funny how I still remember that day as though it happened a week ago. I want to do something like that with you.
My other grandfather lived down the street from my house. He had hands that seemed as big as a coffee pot and as tough as a claw hammer, but he was kind and gentle, and had a smile that no one forgot. He lived to his mid-nineties and brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. I’m hoping for a nice long life too, not only for you but for me. I want to spend a lot of time with you, my grandson.
I promise you that I’ll try to help create memories for you of a grandfather who won’t take you or anyone else for granted.
I’ve had two pretty good role models in my grandfathers.
We’ll have a lot of fun.
Welcome to this world grandson.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced