Grand designs or parents?

I knew, if we could live long enough, there was a good chance Dorothy and I could become Great-Grandparents. As usual, I was right! Yes, we have reached that happy occasion with the recent birth of Miranda and, as the photos have revealed, she is a little beauty. Even though she is domiciled interstate, the wonders of modern technology have disclosed several photos that prove that she and her mum are beautiful and doing just fine.

It is sad that my wife, Dorothy, can’t rejoice with me in this auspicious event, even though I have shown her the photos and explained that Miranda was 7lbs at birth (don’t ask me why we still disclose babies’ weights in pounds not grams!). Maybe it’s an optical illusion, but is there a little tinge of red hair on her bonnie wee head? It was a poignant time for me as I shared this special news with Dorothy understanding that she was not able to respond as she would have seven or eight years ago; she would have been ecstatic. “Show and tell” is the best I could do.

I went on to reminisce with Dorothy, in a one-way discussion, about the birth of Miranda’s grandfather, who arrived with his twin brother and surprised and delighted both of us, all those (undisclosed) years ago. It seems inconceivable (no pun intended) that we did not know until after the first twin was born that she had another baby tucked away in that fluid-enlarged space. No scans in those days, and I had to remain waiting in a public phone box to hear the next instalment! New life is, almost always, a time for celebration although our family experienced sad times some years ago when one of our sons and his wife lost two children, our first grandsons, with a resultant legacy of grief. But new birth is a wondrous and exciting time for most parents, and in this case, our hearts are full of joy and thankfulness as we contemplate the way this tiny bundle will grow and keep adding happiness for years to come to the parents as well as to the uncles, aunts, in-laws and outlaws and all those remaining up the food chain (so to speak).

Life is like that: a mix of emotions of all kinds, past and present, and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s really only the here and now that matters. That confirms how vital it is to grow and enhance our current relationships – because they are the ones that will be part of our future memories! So, I try to ‘make the moment matter’ and that often takes every ounce of my mental energy when I am visiting Dorothy. Squeezing the best out of every moment sometimes leaves me incredibly tired and, for that reason, I am not visiting every day now. It is so easy for me to be overwhelmed by the constant companion of melancholia which, for most separated couples, can be so debilitating. My coping mechanism is to walk or ride a bicycle, but of late, I am having a lot of lower-back pain which is restricting my physical activity. The doctor agrees it could be just muscle strain or, at worst, sciatica, so I’m off to see a physiotherapist to try and regain my mobility.

Like many couples, Dorothy and I have spent most of the last seventy years learning about each other, making memories, and families that matter. It was in those precious earlier years that Dorothy’s life, her devotion, her beliefs, her management of home and family shaped our lives together and that of our children, and a good deal of that influence will filter down through generations. That’s awesome! Being a parent is one thing, now being a great-grandparent, well, that’s a whole new ball game. All part of the grand design, perhaps…..