From Where I Sit – Baby Face

In the waning hours of August 19 our first grandchild, a boy, was born at an Edmonton hospital. After a day-long effort by our daughter-in-law Carrie, Grady Scott entered the world. A healthy seven pounds, seven ounces and 21 and a half inches long. All the clichés spring to mind: miracle of life, bundle of joy, a blessing, looks just like his dad. And damned if every single one isn’t true.

we’re just the grandparents but I think our lives have changed forever as well. Dropping everything and driving the hour to see Grady seems the most natural thing in the world and at least part of me wonders if productivity will ever return to pre-grandkid levels. Right now it seems the most natural thing in the world is sitting for hours with a baby draped across my chest, watching him sleep with not a care in the world. We’ve turned into smiling fools.

And of course It’s as though a throng of paparazzi have descended, blinding the poor kid with shot after shot trying to capture every move he makes, every priceless expression. Memory cards are filling up and he’s only four days old! Even his crying face is so cute that people reach first for their cameras and only after that to stop his crying. ?Baby face, you’ve got the cutest little baby face,? goes the 1926 song recorded by countless artists.

Looking back at Greg’s baby photos stored in those terrible magnetic sheet albums makes me marvel at the changes in technology. I also see that we were in the hospital for five days. In 1977 a photographer came around and took baby portraits that were then sold to parents. In that photo Greg and Grady look identical. In 2009 everyone, including the dad, has a digital camera to capture images as they happen. Grady was born at 11:33 p.m. and the first Blackberry images of him began circulating at 2:30 a.m.

What about the olden days of buying film, hoping your batteries were fresh, shooting 12 or 24 pictures before taking them to a photo lab for week-long processing? Then you could put a couple of possibly blurry or poorly lit pictures into an envelope and mail it to friends or relatives. How did we survive?

In the nearly 32 years since Greg was born many things have changed but I suspect many more have stayed exactly the same. I reminded the parents yesterday that they would now be spending a minimum of 18 years, and more likely the rest of their lives, making sure this child was safe and healthy. It’s a huge burden that most parents accept willingly and perform admirably and I have no doubt our little Grady is in good hands.

Lead-free paint, infant car seats, baby monitors, banning walkers and other unsafe toys all make life easier and safer for these precious souls. We brought Greg home from the hospital in something called a travel bed, essentially an oversized grocery basket with plastic padding.

Roy, Hilary, and I are available to help in any way we can. In the meantime we’re soaking up the experience and capturing it with our cameras. After all, he’s got the cutest little baby face, from where I sit.