Birth of first grandchild prompts reflections, sentimentality

The vital statistics first: Beck Anderson Meyer arrived on the planet at 4:18 a.m. March 30, 2011 in Jackson Hole, Wyo. He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was a tad more than 20 inches long. He is the first child of Liz and Sam Meyer and the first grandchild of Steve and Anne Meyer and Kathy and Denny Herzog.

Yes, this is about a grandchild. Not just any, but the first. I did some research before I sat down to write this, looking for some good grandparent quotations. Frankly, everything I can find about grand-parenting seems to be either trite or incredibly sentimental. I’ll say at the outset, after spending a few days with my grandson, that I understand why. So please bear with me.

Some not so vital statistics, but matters of importance nonetheless: He has a lot of dark hair, much like his mother did at that age, and he is predisposed to be a little grumpy in the mornings, also possibly a trait that is the product of a maternal gene. He cries and fusses some, but not much, also possibly something he picked up from his mother, who was a famously easy infant. He seems to spend a lot of time deep in thought, although I don’t know what a baby less than a month old could be thinking about. But that is likely something he got from his father.

He smiles often. I think it’s because he sees something that is pleasing. His mother and grandmother tell me that’s probably not the case. At just a week or two old, they say, everything he does, every smile, frown, cry, or noise of any kind, is the result of food or lack of. And the smiles are more likely caused by … never mind, it was more information than I wanted and I’m sure more than you want, too. I prefer to go on believing it was because he sensed something he liked.

More than one friend has told me there’s nothing quite like grandparenthood. It’s not at all like raising your own child, they say. The reasons are obvious enough and have been written about often. You can be nothing but the good guy. Leave the discipline to the parents. You can spoil and not feel bad about it. You can send them home if they misbehave. You’ve heard it all before. I suppose it’s all true.

You can also be a teacher, a buddy and a confidant.

All of those thoughts went through my mind – and I’m sure Kathy’s, too – last week in Wyoming where we spent a few days with Beck. At only two weeks old he doesn’t do much. But that didn’t seem to matter. He still is the center of attention. Mom and dad can do nothing except talk about him when they aren’t rocking, holding, feeding or changing him. Nor can his grandparents. And the two dogs with whom he shares a home are as fascinated as the rest of us by the new guy, and want to get to know him by constantly licking.

All of that seems perfectly normal. So far, Beck, in your young life I don’t think anything has been much out of the ordinary, even though we all think you are indeed extraordinary.

And I truly do, as do your other grandparents, look forward to being a part of your life. Maybe we’ll even impart a little wisdom along the way that you’ll find useful.

But more important, at least to me, will be simply watching you grow. I’ve already thought a great deal about what you’ll be like in just a year, when we celebrate your first birthday. You really will be smiling at things then because you find them interesting. You may be walking. You may be saying a few words. You’ll have some teeth. All in less than 12 months.

It’s a big world out there, Beck. Go be a part of it.

Denny Herzog is the retired executive editor of The Daily Sentinel. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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