Birth of a granddaughter stirs emotions and regret

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By Jeff D'Alessio

I knew it would be this way.

It was just like this in the early morning hours of Oct. 22, 2010, and there it was again on Wednesday morning. I likely will feel this way again.

The anticipation of a child being born is an emotion that is hard to appropriately put into words. Like most things in life, you have to experience it to fully understand it. Experiencing it as a grandparent, well, it really is pretty special.

Not only do you see a new life before your eyes, but you witness your child and her husband, growing before you as well, as they venture from one stage of life to another in a matter of minutes.

One minute you are sitting in a waiting room on the fourth floor of Hardin Memorial Hospital wondering when your second granddaughter will arrive, and the next minute, you see the nursery lights come on and your granddaughter, Molly, in the arms of her loving father.

And then you begin to notice everything about her — from the amount of hair she has to her slender fingers to the way she met the cold stethoscope on her chest with disapproval. Her lungs, it would appear, are just fine.

You soon realize you are looking at perfection. Everything about her is cool, just like it was almost 29 months ago when her sister, Madeline, emerged a little after midnight, in the loving arms of her father in the same nursery with the same smile on his face.

Birth is a start, but also a culmination. No longer are there questions of who she will look like, if she will have a lot of hair or none at all, or if she will have all of her fingers and toes.

Unlike Madeline, who is her mom made over, Molly favors her dad more. She has beautiful brown hair, all her fingers and toes and has a firm grip for a child of 5 days of age.

I once read, “Grandchildren are a reward for being a parent.” It truly is hard to dispute that.

It also is something I wish my own mother would have been able to experience before she died 30 years ago this October. The joys we have from our children and grandchildren come with unmatched emotion.

That my mom was never able to experience what I have been able to experience twice now is a struggle I often have on days like Oct. 22 and March 13. I wish she was able, at least for a short while, to understand the overwhelming feeling that sweeps over you by being a grandparent. I know she would have loved being a grandmother.

There is, however, a connection between Madeline and the great-grandmother she will never know: They share the same birthday — by minutes.

At almost 53 years of age, being a grandpa, or as Madeline will offer, “Pompa,” is one of the best things that have come with getting older. It’s nice to feel someone needs you like they do, and will.

Having Madeline and Molly offers a wave of emotions and thankfulness that all who love these little girls have been able to experience with them. They offer simple joys to our lives, from a small yawn from Molly to a “I want to go to your house” from Madeline.

As my wife and I, and many, many others, have experienced over the last few years, having a grandchild offers a happiness that can only be experienced to be understood.

We are the fortunate ones to have now experienced it twice.

Jeff D’Alessio is news editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1757 or jdalessio@ thenewsenterprise.com.