A little baby, not much bigger than a loaf of bread, took a grown man by the heart and turned him into a tub of goo.
It happened this week. At 12:34 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, little Walter emerged from nine months of preparation.
“I’m Pa,” I said to this little bundle of joy. He started moving his lips open and closed. I’m pretty sure he was whispering “Pa, Pa, Pa.” Actually, I think he was yearning for some maternal nutrition, but I have my story and I’m sticking to it.
How is it that you fall head over heels for a little baby boy in a matter of seconds? I have cried about two buckets of happy tears. I think I’ve outcried the parents, his other grandparents and anyone else.
It’s not like I didn’t know he was coming. We’ve known that for months. His mama took good care of herself and the doctors all said he was healthy. No worries there.
But when they placed him in my hands, I felt a tingle from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.
Later in the day, after pacing the halls of the hospital, his mama and daddy wanted a cheeseburger. I called and ordered them and along the way I stopped to get a Coke at a convenience store.
The fast-forward part of my mind was in overdrive and I looked over at the slushy machine and was thinking that one day Walt and I will be stopping by and getting us a slushy. I don’t know where that came from, but it was enough to turn on the water faucet again.
“Are you all right?” asked the convenience store clerk.
I said yes and pulled out my phone and showed her a picture.
“That’s a purdy baby,” she said.
I went across town and got the food, but not before I showed his picture to a gaggle of waitresses.
My aunt used to have a tag on the front of her Cadillac that said, “Let me tell you about my grandchildren.” I used to think that is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard of. Now, I’m trying to find out where to buy one.
God gives the gift of having children to amateurs. He gives the gift of spoiling them to professionals. My only job is not to spoil them, but it is so easy and so much fun.
Walt, this is my message to you. Welcome to the world, my boy. I hope to show you things and take you places that will open those little eyes to this beautiful place we live.
Oh, by the way, when you come to our house, you get a double helping because Nana loves you just as much, if not more, than I do. There is a stool in our kitchen where you can stand at the counter and help her make cookies. She’s a great cookie maker.
We will read every book you want to read. A couple of years from now, we’ll be taking you to vacation Bible school. I can give you a preparatory course in important Bible school themes, like eating butter cookies with a hole in the middle. You stick the cookie on your finger and eat around it. I’ll show you.
For the rest of you grandparents out there, I am honored to join your ranks. I’ve been watching you and think I can get up to speed right away.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear Sundays.