The news and information come at us in waves, pounding at our psyche.
War. Drought. Court decisions. Power outages. Gasoline prices. Another election. Murder. Mayhem.
It all chips away at our morale, wears us down even during the most beautiful days of summer.
We’re often left trying to catch our breath, challenged to take it all in while remaining hopeful and optimistic about the world in which we live.
Then the baby arrives. Well, in my case it was the granddaughter – our nine-month-old bundle of joy and energy and smiles. Our first grandchild.
She came to our house for a Saturday sleepover, her first overnight away from her parents. It was our first 24-hour marathon of grandparenting.
When their vehicle pulled into the driveway and that car seat was unbuckled, the rest of the world stops.
So many other things fade into the background as you begin thinking about kiddie pools and making Jell-O and pulling out the old Fisher-Price barn and making sure the stroller and Pack-N-Play are in good working order.
It is difficult to put into words why this little person has such power. That is not the right term. Control? Influence?
All I know is that this tiny little human is a prism for all that is right and good in the world, and we need a whole lot of what babies deliver.
The heart-melting magic for me starts when baby first sets eyes on you that day. Her face quickly changes from wearing a look of confusion to loving recognition and joy.
Her smile does not lie as her young brain processes what she sees and decides that, yes, this is a person I know and trust and who makes me happy (and feeds me and keeps me warm and safe and has a hug ready whenever I need it).
Pretty soon you are down on the floor, playing with plastic rings and talking in a higher pitched voice. It is impossible to not be reminded, time and time again, that for these hours together this little life is dependent on you for so many things.
That has to be part of what intensifies this grandparenting relationship.
Unlike the wonderful, challenging years of raising our own children, we now have a clearer realization that our time is limited – that our visit will end sometime.
Knowing that, it is so much easier to set aside most everything else and just live in that moment and be with the baby. The television is off. The laptop is closed (even though deadlines are never too far away). Put off the mowing and hedge-trimming for another day.
The baby is here. That is all that matters for now.
Cliff Wiltshire is editor and publisher of the Clintonville Spotlight.
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