“When was the last time one of my daughters held my hand?,” I thought. These days, I can get away with a hug or a kiss, but anything more than that seems to be reserved for when they are sick or upset. Pain after shoulder surgery, a breakup, a rejection letter from a college — those are times I’ve been permitted to hold them tight, rub their backs and stroke their hair. With each touch and soothing word, I’ve attempted to repair a broken heart or ease a worried mind, often to no avail. Perhaps that’s why I felt such bliss taking care of my friend's baby, even when being woken in the middle of the night.
Baby Brandon ended up staying with us for a week. During that time, Brad and I joked that we felt like stand-in grandparents. “Pop-pop, are you gonna take a nap while the baby sleeps?” I’d ask him.
“Very funny,” he’d say. He and I both knew he didn’t need an excuse to sleep during the day.
Half joking, we considered that if our daughters married young and started a family at 25, as we had, we could be grandparents in just a few years. Suddenly, we were feeling nostalgic for the future, for things yet to come. I asked Brad if he thought the girls would look to me for advice when they have children of their own. He asked if I’d have the energy to host grandchildren for an entire week. I interrupted the discussion and said, “That’s enough!”
It was then that I realized I wasn’t looking to turn the clock back, just slow it down.