John Spevak: Grandparenting never grows old

By John SpevakMay 10, 2013 

By the sixteenth grandchild it might become routine, but it doesn't. Seeing and holding a new grandchild is mesmerizing.

My wife Sandy and I headed to Golden, CO last month for the birth of the sixteenth grandchild in our blended family. In this case it would be the son of my daughter Megan and son-in-law husband Eric.

We made our travel plans with an arrival of April 11, two days before the baby was due. By the time we arrived, however, the baby was already five days old. Owen -- like most babies, a kid with a mind of his own -- decided to come a week early.

Sandy and I missed being present for the birth, which would have been nice, but we did have the chance to experience Owen up close not long after he had left the womb.

What a wonderful experience it was holding him -- so warm, soft and fragile. What a time for joy and thanksgiving, that new life has come into the world, into the family.

Sandy is magical with infants. She loves babies, the younger and tinier the better. Not that Owen was all that tiny -- seven pounds, 13 ounces at birth, 20 and a half inches long. But compared to other humans, he was tiny.

Seeing Sandy hold Owen close to her was almost as much fun as holding Owen myself. And although it's been a year since our last grandchild was born (Payton, the daughter of John and Marisa), both Sandy and I found that our natural instincts for holding a baby kicked right it.

For me Owen was particularly special since he is the first child of my youngest child. Somehow the youngest child always remains young in a parent's imagination, so to see Megan with her baby was especially meaningful. Somehow this was completing one of life's cycles.

Watching Megan and Eric cuddle and snuggle Owen was as joyful as watching Owen kick and stretch. Even though the parents had not had much exposure to babies growing up, they quickly adapted to parenting as easily as a hand slides into a well-fitting glove.

Sandy and I were impressed with their parenting style, which might be described as the 3C's approach: calm, cool, and collaborative. When Owen fussed (which was not often) both Megan and Eric took it in stride. They remained calm, and that calmness seemed to be transferred to their baby.

And when they needed to come to a decision, they did so collaboratively. When Owen was a week old, the weather in Golden was quite pleasant -- sunny and in the low 70s, a good day for a walk.

Was Owen ready to head outside in his stroller for the first time? His parents talked it over, weighing the pros and cons. They checked the internet for other parents' advice on the question, then trusted their own intuitions and mutually decided it was good time for Owen to take a stroll.

It was a good thing they did, because the next day it turned cold and windy, and the day following it snowed. The wintry spring weather was fine with me, because Megan and Eric's home was warm and cozy, due not just to their heating system but also to the metaphorical warmth they created for their child.

As I sat on the couch watching the snowflakes silently float outside the window, I felt that inside all was well. And I felt grateful to be experiencing the warmth of this family's love.

It was fun to be a part of Owen's first fortnight of life outside the womb. In a way I'm glad he came early, so that Sandy and I had more time to be with him.

And by being with Owen and his parents, Sandy and I felt assured of something we had really known all along: Owen would be in good hands. Megan and Eric would be, and indeed already are, wonderful parents.

What the future will bring for Owen is anybody's guess. Although his talents and interests make take some time to unfold, Sandy and I know this: Owen will be surrounded, supported and enveloped with love for the rest of his life.

Comments on the writings of John Spevak, an Enterprise columnist for 29 years, are encouraged, and can be sent via email to john.spevak@gmail.com.

Comments on the writings of John Spevak, an Enterprise columnist for 29 years, are encouraged, and can be sent via email to john.spevak@gmail.com.

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