Welcome to the world, Grayson Brewer Grisamore.
I am your Papa Gris. I dont expect you to remember that now. You are only 5 days old.
I dont even expect you to call me Papa Gris. That may not be easy for you to say, so Ill accept anything close. Anything.
I promise not to spoil you. (OK, Im not going to promise that.)
From now on, Feb. 11 will always be a special day. Valentines Day showed up three days early.
It was colder in Macon on Tuesday than it was at the Winter Olympics in Russia. The city outside the hospital window was bracing for an ice storm. The television in the waiting room was paying tribute to Shirley Temple.
I will remember it as the day I became a grandfather.
For months, your Papa Gris and G.G. (thats short for Grandma Gris) have been prepped on the joys of grandparenting. We have been preparing for this exciting new chapter in our lives.
Friends who already have their stripes have laughed and said if they had known it was this much fun, they would have skipped children and gone straight to having grandkids.
I cannot imagine a greater blessing than my own children, but I think I know what they are trying to say.
You love your sons and daughters, teach them to work hard and do the right thing, then send them out into the world. Grandchildren are an affirmation that life goes on.
I saw you for the first time when you were a couple of hours old. I stood over you, marveling at the tiny miracle in front of me, from your nose to your toes.
You did not have my undivided attention. I was watching your proud daddy. For a few minutes, it was just the two of us with you in the corner of the room, sharing the moment. Not much needed to be said. It was understood.
He reached down, and you wrapped your little finger around his.
That was the moment I understood what it means to be a grandfather.
I saw the same look in the mirror when he was born 26 years, eight months and 27 days ago.
It had been a long, difficult day. There were some tense moments and hard labor. You were a stubborn eight days late.
For 14 hours, you had your own welcome wagon filling most of the seats in the waiting room. Your grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all formed a receiving line.
To pass the time, we started a pool to predict when you would arrive (6:55 p.m.) and guess how much you would weigh (7 pounds, 8 ounces) and how long you would be (21 inches).
I was amused at all the text messaging, tweeting and Facebooking that was going on. I thought back to when your Uncle Ed was born in 1983. I didnt have a cellphone. I wore a hospital-issued pager on my belt in case your G.G. needed to get in touch with me. Times certainly have changed.
A story came out in the newspapers this week. It said more talking and longer sentences from adults can help build a babys brainpower.
Thats good news. I have a lot I want to tell you.
One day, you will learn that you share a birthday with Burt Reynolds, Jennifer Aniston and Thomas Edison. Your parents, Grant and Summer Sterling, will explain to you that Grayson is from your mamas side, and Brewer was picked from the Grisamore family tree. I have no idea what your first word will be, or if red will be your favorite color, or if macaroni and cheese will be your favorite vegetable (it qualifies as one in the South) or if baseball will be your favorite sport.
Just know you have a lot of people who love you and will share your hopes and dreams.
Love, Papa Gris.
Reach Gris at 744-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.