Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Grandparent Love

by Christina VanGinkel

Babies and their grandparents have a special bond that defies even the bond of the parents. How can this be you ask? Simple, if the mother lovers her child, as I do my daughter, then how could I not doubly love the child that she has brought into our lives?

My grandson travels with his parents but we were fortunate enough to have him, along with his mother, spend the first six months of his life in our home. Not ready to take a newborn on the road she chose to stay with us while Daddy came home every weekend, often from hundreds of miles away. His temporary loss was our forever gain.

In those six months, my grandson managed to work his way into the hearts of both my husband and I, and his Uncle who is all of twelve years old. We were witness to his first smiles, his first giggles, and first destruction of a box of Kleenex he managed to pull off the coffee table. Fortunately, he is healthy, but we were also able to be by our daughters side when as a newborn he had to be rushed to the hospital as he broke out in a rash all over his face and screamed as only a newborn can when they have an earache. We were by his side when our daughter learned he is allergic to cats, hence the rash, which came about after she visited his other grandmother who happens to have a cat. She had innocently laid her sweater on the couch and after putting it back on, he snuggled his face into her shoulder, cat hair and all. He was so congested from the hair his ears were inflamed from the pressure. He survived and now a year and a half later, he has decided that cats are grand and my daughter is forever pulling him away from any cat that may cross his path.

Almost two years old now, he calls us every single day. He talks to grandpa about the turkeys he fed in our yard the last time he visited, and he starts every conversation with me by saying the two sweetest words I have ever heard, -Hi Nana!- His vocabulary is rich thanks to the frequent talks we have on the phone, and he can recite a whole litany of animal sounds. He counts to three, and is learning his ABCs already.

If you are under the impression that you could never love someone as much as you do your very own babies, hang onto to your hearts tight. When you have your first grandchild, they will show you that just when you thought you could not love someone anymore than you already do, they will arrive, baby smiles and all, to test the strength of your heart.

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