Born about 6:45 PM Tuesday at Norwalk Hospital, a 9 pound 1 ounce baby boy. He has his great-grandfather’s thick black hair. His mother’s nose. All of our hearts.
The nurse who measured him held up the tape and mouthed to me through the nursery window, “Twenty one and a half!” (Inches, she meant.) I thought she did this for all onlookers. When I met her later, she explained she was amazed at how long he was. A few minutes later, a family standing nearby said, “Look at that one. He doesn’t look like a new born. He looks like he’s a month old already.” He does too—none of that Winston Churchill resemblance. He’s built like a point guard or a wideout, maybe. But already, he’s his own man, which is the important thing.
He overwhelmed me, like babies are supposed to do. As did his mother. And her mother, who stood by all night the night before, not a wink of sleep in the hospital’s bed chair, then caressed her daughter through the final round and, finally, cut the cord. I have seen my wife and my daughter look beautiful many times. But this is the best yet. Wes lives next door, and we get to participate. I await further instructions with an eagerness that suprises me a little. I’d think there comes a point where you’re too old for love at first sight, but I guess you never are.
For those of you who asked or may wonder, Barbara is Nonna, and he can call me Grandpa, Pops, Pop-pop, Duke, Dukie, or a term of his own devise. The one thing that’s clear already is, I don’t own him. He owns me. Remind me of that once in a while, if I slip….
Both this morning’s Live from E Street Nation and this Sunday’s Kick Out the Jams are about what it means to be a grandparent, in their different ways.
“What children are, more than anything else, is this: another chance for our flawed species. Another chance to get it right.” – Andrew Vachss