Leadership 18 – Special Edition
I pondered this as I sat with other expectant family members in the Family Retreat at Baptist South on Sunday and Monday. Waiting. Eating junk food. Playing card games and watching endless re-runs of game shows. Jumping every time the door to the Labor and Delivery floor came open. Reaching for another of those devilish Hot Tamale candies I am now addicted to. (Thank you Ashley!!)
Frankly, I knew it would be moving. But life-changing? For me? Wasn’t sure how that really could happen. And then, at the end of over 24 hours of labor and waiting, my son Dave sent us a snapshot from his phone inside the room. The baby was here! Three days after her due date, she almost stuck the landing. And she was born on my Dads birthday!
After our first excited rounds of texts and phone calls were made, and great-grandparents and aunts and uncles were notified of their new “promotion,” something incredible happened. My son walked into the waiting room and for the very first time I saw it. He was a father. It showed on his face, weary after a sleepless night and standing alongside his wife. I was filled with a pride for him at that moment that was beyond description. He was now different. I could see it. We embraced for a moment and he disappeared behind the double doors with two weary and anxious grandmothers and a newly minted aunt.
The other grandfather and I sat in the room waiting for our invitation to go back and meet our new granddaughter. We were both aware that grandpa’s take a back seat in moments like this, and we were ok with that. Paul and I chatted as we waited thumbing mindlessly through an AARP magazine. I looked for another Hot Tamale. Sadly, there were none.
Then it was our turn to enter. I walked into a room to the sound of the baby crying as Dave changed her diaper. Knowing it would be the first of many thousands, I knew he would become adept at this skill.
I surveyed the emotion-packed room as a spirit that I can only describe as God-sent joy was pervasive. I saw it in the new mother’s face. Logan is a beautiful woman, but as she lay in the bed disheveled by the hours of labor she had undergone, I saw a radiance and beauty in her that was remarkable. She was a mother. She was now different. I could see it. I could feel it around her.
Then I had the privilege of watching as my son carefully handed his now-swaddled, contented, perfectly-formed, lovely, dark-haired daughter to my wife. And as I watched, Pam changed as she carefully and adoringly held her newly born granddaughter in her arms. A joy and beauty emanated from her that made me love her in a way that I had not experienced before. She literally radiated with joy. She was a grandmother! She was now different. I could see it in her eyes, her face. I could sense it in her spirit.
By now my eyes were so tear-filled that the room was blurred. I had to step aside to clear them. Because then they said, “Poppy, it’s your turn to hold her.” And when they handed her to me, I changed. I could feel it from the depths of my being….a love and joy flowing out that only a caring Creator-God and a beautiful newborn baby could bring. As I looked into the beauty of McCail Violet’s face, I was now different.
I am a grandfather. And I am certain my life will never be quite the same!
19 3/4 inches long