So much to teach, so little time to learn

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By Kes Colbert

My eldest son’s mother-in-law ain’t too smart. My son’s mother is even worse! They had their faces inches away from the newborns. I was thinking “breathing room” but maturity (read survival instincts) has taught me to quietly ponder way long and hard in situations like this and then don’t say nothing! I tried to look over their shoulders but it was no use. They had the babies completely blocked out.

“Hayden’s mouth is a little smaller.”

“You are right. And her hair is a little fuller on the front left side.”

“Don’t you think Hannah’s little cheeks are not quite as full as her sister?”

Silly grandmothers.

They are twins! They look just alike! I had a sudden urge to blurt out “You two are nuts! They are identical! I could shuffle them around and those NCIS guys couldn’t pick out the right one!” Of course, I bit my tongue and said nothing. You’d be amazed what 35 years of marriage has done for my maturity level.

I figured it would only be minutes now till they got down to the “she looks just like Aunt Donna”, “she’s the spittin’ image of cousin Charlotte from Tupelo” and “this one’s got the Kennedy eyes”….. They looked like babies for goodness sakes!

Cathy didn’t smile like this on our wedding night.

Folks, these girls are all of three hours old. Well, one of them is three hours old; her “younger” sister would be seven minutes less than that.

The oohs and aahs were pouring down like rain. You’d a’thought these were the first babies ever to grace life’s stage. I was looking at the flowers and cards and wondering if it would be o. k. to eat one of the cup cakes when a grandmother backed away to answer the phone. I casual like eased over as quickly as decorum would permit and stuck my head down into one of the little faces.

I didn’t know which was which. It was Baby A and Baby B as far as I could tell. I peered deeply at each one. The eyes were closed. The skin still a little red and wrinkly; the eyebrows were so faint as to be hardly discernible. And they were big! I couldn’t believe how big and normal they looked. I just figured twins would have to be small and skinny. I silently thanked the special care and fortitude of my daughter-in-law. And I remembered all over again how God is even bigger and better than we give Him credit for.

“You want to hold one?”

Well, no. Babies are not my specialty. I didn’t want to be the first grandfather in history to fumble a 3-hour old infant— It was too late! One of the grandmothers shoved me back on the couch, the other dropped Baby B into the crook of my left arm. “K.K, this is Hannah.”

She didn’t open her eyes but as she shifted to fit into the new position, her little hand came up by her face. She waved at me! I was the first person in this world that either one of them spoke to! I could feel her breathing against my elbow. Her tiny feet strained against the papoose like wrapping, digging randomly into my ribcage. I leaned in a little closer. She was the prettiest baby that I had ever seen. And she was all mine……for the moment.

“Hannah, you ain’t going to believe the journey we’re fixing to commence on. We are going to wrestle and run after each other and play hide and go seek. I’ll take you to ball games. We’ll race down big hills. I’ll throw you on my back and we’ll tip-toe across the foot log at Sugar Creek. We’ll dangle our feet off the side of the porch and see who can spit the furtherest. I will swing you around and around till we get the whole world spinning. We’ll cut out cardboard carpets and slide down that long sloping hill beside Geroge Sexton’s old house. We’ll make eagles the first time we can find an inch of snow. We’ll camp out in the shed. We’ll make late night Dairy Queen runs. I will float you down the Cascade River with Joke, Bill, Tom and Grover Cleveland Alexander. I want to spend the first ten years shaking you awake with my eyes so wide open you leap up ready for the world. But you’ve got to promise, when age creeps up on me, that you will return the favor by shaking me awake with eyes so ablaze I’ll back flip out of bed ready to slay dragons and ride whirlwinds!

“I will help you grow up. You help me grow down. That’s a deal of a lifetime for both of us! When you get old enough I will tell you about your father’s old girl friends; and how carefully your mother cared for you even before you were born. I will show you how to lasso the moon. We’ll chase lightning bugs, short legged dogs and rainbows. I guarantee you with all my heart that as long as I’ve got a dime, the music won’t ever stop.”

Her little hand rose again in assent. Yes! “And Hannah, I don’t care what anyone says, you are a lot better looking than your sister.”

We sat in silence. Each of us savoring a relationship that has only just begun.

I have no idea how much time passed but I was not ready when Cathy gently eased her out of my arms. I’m sure I saw Hannah frown. Cathy was back in a minute with Hayden, “Here,” She placed her in the crook still warm from Hannah’s sojourn, “You need to meet your other granddaughter.”

Holy Cow, the longer I sit here, the prettier they get! And maybe her mouth was a tad smaller. And she did favor Aunt Donna! “Hayden, you ain’t going to believe the journey me and you are fixing to commence on. We are going to wrestle and run after each other...”