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Harris Blackwood: Thoughts on my first year as a grandfather
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

This week my grandfather card gets the one-year stamp on it. What a year it has been!

Little Walter turns 1 this week and Nana, my wife and his grandmother, and I have been having a blast and know that this is just the beginning.

It’s been fun since he arrived, but there was a magic moment about six months ago when he started recognizing us.

One of us can walk in the room and he just beams. There is no price you can put on that.

I don’t consider myself a great singer, or even a good one for that matter. But when Walter is around we will sing. We sing church songs and nursery rhyme songs and anything else that comes to mind.

His favorite is “The Noble Duke of York.” He can be on the verge of tears and he will stop to listen. We sing it in the car, we sing it over the internet, and we sing it on the phone.

I haven’t told Walter yet, but the real Duke of York got bumped down in the order of succession to the British throne. There is now a kid named Archie in the way. I don’t know any songs about Archie.

I’m hoping that Walter will call me Pa. I really want it to be pronounced like Paw, the way little Opie Taylor called Andy.

Walter is my grandson of my heart, not my blood. He is the son of my youngest stepdaughter. I never knew I could love somebody else’s child that much.

He is teething right now and has four pretty good choppers on the front. I know this because he bit me on the nose last week. It’s OK, he’s my grandson.

My wife, Allison, is a wonderful grandmother. She dotes on him more than I do.

I’m mighty proud of Walter’s mama and daddy. She keeps him on a daily schedule and the result is that he is ready to go down for a nap at the right time and he wakes up happy. His daddy is a good daddy and is an active participant in Walter's care.

I find it interesting that God gives the gift of having little ones to amateurs. Don’t tell Walter’s mama, but between Nana and myself we have participated in the raising of four persons. All of them survived.

His mama is feeding him all kinds of organic foods and such. One day, Pa is going to take him to The Varsity and he is probably going to be surprised how good that greasy food can taste. He may bite me on the nose again.

Sometime in the next month, he’s going to start walking. He is already taking about four steps and then just sits down. I can’t wait for him to run over for me to pick him up.

On this Mother’s Day, I am thankful for Walter’s mama and grandmother. One gave birth to a wonderful baby girl and the other gave birth to the most incredible grandson ever.

But most of all, I’m thankful for a little boy who lights up when I come in the room, who laughs at my silly songs and brings me joy like you can only imagine if you’re a grandparent.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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