They told me being a grandpa would be sweeter than I could ever imagine. So sweet in fact, that I would be at a loss for words.
Turns out they were half right.
Yes, it is a joy beyond my wildest dreams; and yes, words seem inadequate.
But I still feel compelled to write something, if only a clumsy love letter/blog, to Evelyn Rae Palmer, 7 pounds and 4 ounces of pure angel that came into our world at 4:57 a.m. on Sunday, March 5.
The wonder of it all is more than I can absorb. It brings me back to a sense of awe that has bewildered me for more than three decades.
I don’t think I have quite come to grips with the series of miracles that were unleashed when our first child, Maria, came into our lives 31 years ago. I remember gazing into the face of an infant Maria on that August morning back in 1985 and wondering how this could possibly be. Watching Maria, and then her two siblings, Dano and Katie, grow through the various stages of childhood and then emerge as remarkable adults has caused this great mystery to compound over the years.
And of course, I am instantly moved by the impact that Evie is having on the people I love the most; Maria, and her husband Scott, my wife Marlys, and my son Dano, and daughter Katie all gaze upon this little angel as if they are witnessing a miracle, which of course they are.
I know that the phrase “miracle of life” can seem like a cliché, but it keeps popping into my mind and I cannot avoid writing about it. I am a big believer in science and logic and in the ways that our lives can be improved by intelligence and reasoning. But there is no amount of science, no logic or reasoning, that can even begin to explain the experience of looking into the eyes of an infant you truly love and reflecting on the wonders that lie ahead. It is, for me, the most spiritual of all my life experiences.
I thought I was prepared for this. I have spent much of the last few years hearing from my friends and relatives talk about the immeasurable excitement of grandparenthood. I braced myself to feel the joys of being a grandfather. But, when I gazed into Evelyn’s eyes, I realized I had become something even bigger than becoming a grandfather; I had become Evie’s grandfather. This is not some general idea; this is a very specific relationship with a real human being, with her own future and a soul that the world has never seen.
Martin Luther King Jr. once described babies as the “latest news from heaven.” I understand this now better than ever; the innocence of an infant seems to come from a place we can barely recognize. Yet, we have all been there; quite literally, laying in our bassinet, looking up at smiling faces full of wonder. It is an image I cannot forget. Indeed, I will make it may daily meditation to bring that image back to my mind at every moment.
We have all been that baby; so worthy of love. Somehow, unfortunately, life can wear us down and we start to believe we do not deserve this unconditional affection. My job, as Evie’s grandfather I suppose, is to help Evie remember just how special she is. So far, we are doing fine.