It seems like yesterday that my son and daughter-in-law announced they were going to have a baby, and today I am declaring to the world what a wonderful miracle has happened. The joy of this news was beyond words, and the anticipation grew every week until our grandson has now finally entered the world.
I remember seeing him for the first time and must admit, this little man has absolutely captured my heart. He's not even 6 weeks old yet, and I am thinking about him all the time. We love to buy him toys and clothes, and I'm already planning the things I want to give and experience with him. I realize that everyone who has grandchildren feels this overflowing fountain of love, and now I'm understanding these emotions for the first time.
When my wife and I were young parents, I did not comprehend when older people would tell me how exciting they were about their grandchildren along with the never-ending albums of pictures. I get it now. They are beaming with pride and thanksgiving and want the whole world to see these beautiful individuals who have no limits to what they can do or who they can be.
Lately, I've found myself repeating the exact same comments I have heard others say all of my life. Things like: "He has long arms and legs. Probably going to be a basketball player." Or: "He is so alert. I know he is going to be very smart."
I am captivated with a love that will provide unlimited cuddles and kisses, an endless supply of cookies and candy, probably not pay attention to bedtime curfews and always have time for one more story.
There is so much I want to see and know about his life. I want to encourage and inspire him and talk with him about everything and share what I've learned about the mysteries and joys of this life. At the same time, this relationship reminds me of what a serious responsibility I have to be a good role model, to demonstrate and help point him in the right direction to the best of my ability.
I remember when my children were small, I would tuck them in at night and pray over them because I wanted God and his angels to protect them from harm. I would also ask the Lord to give them wisdom and favor and to bless and help them in their decisions and opportunities. I feel the same fervency for this next generation as I will also intercede for this young man as he explores and searches for his place in this world.
Most of all I will pray that he will know God and have a special relationship with him and that he will grow up to be a man of integrity and honesty, a good son and, eventually, a good husband and father. I hope I am around long enough to be a special part of his life and to watch him develop into the man God has called him to be.
I remember my grandfather and how much he meant to me as a little boy. I can still hear him singing little songs about me that he would make up and how special it made me feel. I was the first grandchild, and I remember how my grandparents would hug and kiss me every time they saw me, and I know they were filled with joy and love for me.
When I was about 8 years old, I started spending the weekends with them, and it was so much fun. They lived way out in the country, and to a small boy this environment was an enchanted place filled with adventure and exciting new experiences. They are gone, but those moments are still in my heart, and now I'm so looking forward to making new delightful memories together with my grandson.
As I close with a poem by Teri Harrison (slightly edited for this grandpa), I am united with all the other proud and grateful grandparents who since the beginning of time have enjoyed this great honor. "I stroked your little hand, perfect sweetness as we touched. I whispered that I loved you loved you so very much. I held you close to me, memorized your darling face. I've waited so long, my heart now touched by grace. As papaw and grandson, an amazing journey has begun. You're my heart, you're my joy, my precious little one."
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.