Sunday, October 22, 2006

Everything new is new again

I drove up to Vermont yesterday to meet my granddaughter, Johanna Michelle. (Her other grandfather is named John.) Of course, I took lots of pictures, but this one of her with her mother was clearly the winner.

There are many things I find fascinating about this young woman, but here's the part that struck me most yesterday: When the kids first announced that she was on her way, I was thrilled for them, but expected that most of my own joy and surprise would come from watching of them become parents. As for myself, well, it was to be my fourth grandchild, and I'm getting pretty good at that.

However, as the pregnancy developed, I found myself totally caught up in the "first time" aspects. Younger Son and Wife have a very different approach to things than Older Son and Wife, which -- aside from the addition of wives -- is not different today than 30 years ago when Younger Son came on the scene.

I think most parents with more than one kid have had this experience: During the pregnancy, you tell yourself that you really have to make an effort not to hold the second child up to the standards of the first, but to let that young sibling develop as an individual. And then, when it happens, you realize that all your stern resolutions were pointless -- only The Great Santini could treat two different siblings as if they were the same child. Our two boys share some strong common bonds forged within the family, but they could not be more different as individuals.

Similarly, as the pregnancy progressed, the notion that Johanna was "Number Four" utterly disappeared. By the time she arrived, and really for quite a while before that, I was just as excited as when her eldest cousin Elizabeth was born a decade ago.

And yesterday, I was just as dumfounded in her presence.

I expect you to be, also.


BrianFies said...

OK, I'm dumbfounded.

Many Congratulations! It's a thrill I'm looking forward to someday-but-not-too-soon.

ronnie said...

Dumbfounded. Totally.

Beautiful, beautiful shot. I suggest a nicely-framed copy as a Christmas present for the Proud Papa.

Congratulations! What a joy a new baby is to a family :)


Mike said...

Brian, indeed your girls may want to wait a few more years. Or more than a few -- Gabe is about four years older than I was when he was born -- and he was second-in-line. His older brother was 24 when his first daughter came along ... but I was only 22 when he was born.

And (ronnie), in this modern world, I took the picture and Proud Papa immediately downloaded it to his laptop. And no doubt sent her other grandparents home with a copy on their flash drives. However, I'm thinking of printing out a copy or two. I don't have a computer monitor in every room, after all.