A smile never increases in price or decreases in value.
Spending Christmas at my daughter’s house got me to thinking about how my grandsons have changed through the years.
Sharon & me with kids & grandkids in 2007
My oldest is a sophomore at Baylor University (home of this year’s Heisman Trophy winner and the nation’s number one women’s basketball team, he’d want me to add). It took me nineteen years to get from birth to that stage, but he’s done it in just a few short minutes—or so it seems to me.
Seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital talking to my daughter on the phone while her OB removed him by C-section. Seriously, she was talking to me on the phone while Austen was being born.
A few minutes later we were ushered around to where she lay recovering, holding this little package all wrapped up in a blanket and looking like a huge burrito. I promise that was just a few days ago.
My business, offering health insurance to nursing home employees around the state, allowed me to visit frequently when they moved from place to place as my son-in-law found new ministry opportunities. For a number of years, even though they lived as much as 400 miles from me, I was able to stop by and visit monthly or at least every other month.
I remember sitting and watching Austen watch Barney. He had the dialog to every episode memorized, so he could say the lines along with the characters.
Three years later, I sat in another waiting room while Addison was born. No phone connection this time, but we had Austen in the waiting room to entertain us. At lunch, we found a fire truck parked in front of the Golden Corral where the firemen were eating, and they allowed Austen to climb into the cab.
It was fun playing with Austen while Addison swung in his wind-up swing. After Aaron was born at yet another hospital a couple of years later, I had a trio to watch and play with.
The house where they lived when Aaron was an infant had a step down from the main part of the house to an area they boys used for a play room. Aaron would crawl over to the step and look, but he couldn’t make himself try to negotiate the step. Enter helpful brother. Addison would come over and push him down the step. Aaron would cry for a minute and then brighten when he realized he was where he wanted to be.
All three boys wanted PawPaw’s undivided attention. When I was there, I was theirs—and I loved every minute of it. They’d all three crawl onto my back at once for horsey rides or all gang up on me for a wrestling match.
Funny how all that changes as they age. I know all three of them love me as much as ever. They make that obvious. But it’s not the same. They all have their own activities, and I don’t see them near like I used to.
Once a few years ago, I had them as a sort of captive audience when Nana and I joined their family on a Caribbean cruise. For seven days, they could only go so far.
PawPaw with Austen, Addison and Aaron on cruise in 2008
Seems like I barely see Austen in between his activities with various friends. Addison doesn’t have his driver’s license yet, so he doesn’t disappear quite as much as Austen, but he’s gone quite a bit. And if it’s hunting season, he and his other grandpaw will be gone hunting.
Aaron is the most likely to be around when Nana and I visit, and I guess we each spend more time with him than the others, but, at 14, he’s got plenty of activities, too. And if he is at home, he’s likely to be playing video games—which I’ve never gotten into—or practicing his drums in his room.
How could all these changes have taken place in the few minutes since they were born? Makes my head spin.
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.