Happiness is being a grandparent

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By Jeff D'Alessio

Helen Underwood was right.
So were Mary Alice Holt, Judy Martin and Janice Lunsford. They all knew what they were talking about when it comes to the love that blossoms within you when you become a grandparent.
You have a love for your parents and your spouse, and you don’t think it can get any better. Then life moves on and you have your own children, and your love for someone else hits overdrive.
But when you have a grandchild, as I have learned since the early morning hours of Oct. 22, there’s a love that grows that really is hard to describe. I just know it’s pretty amazing.
I can hardly go a day without checking on her, or seeing her. I love to feed and burp her. And yes, I have changed her, even though she didn’t appear to be too happy about it.
My wife and I, and both families, are in love with Madeline Brooke Knapp.
I know my wife and I have been in love with her from the time her parents sat in our living room in February and told us that they were expecting our first grandchild.
Whether it was a boy or girl, we didn’t care. Healthy is all we cared about. She was 9 pounds when she was born, has a healthy heart and all her toes and fingers.
This path from parent to grandparent was an interesting journey.
We smiled most of that first day we found out we were going to become grandparents.
We shopped for Maddie, long before she came into this crazy, wonderful world that we live in.
The only problem we encountered in becoming grandparents was what we would be called. Like giving a child a name, we would be labeled for life by our choice.
There was no problem for me. I called my grandfather grandpa, my kids call my dad grandpa, so I stuck with tradition.
The challenge was what to call my wife. She settled on Mimi. We think that’s how it should be spelled. At least that’s how we spell it.
Now, that Madeline is nine weeks and two days old, the fun is growing. Now when her grandpa gets on the floor with her as she twists her little head and turns to look at our Christmas tree, I hear a gurgle or two, and get a smile when I talk to her.
We are mesmerized by her and the simple things she does, such as the way she yawns and moves her tongue. The way she grasps onto a finger when eating or seems to have an amazing focus on just about anything. She stared at little bells hanging by mistletoe last weekend for a good five minutes.
Mistletoe aside, she is kissed and loved plenty.
On a handful of other occasions I tried to start writing about this little girl and the amazing amount of joy and happiness she already has brought to our lives, but tears and a lump in my throat have kept me from going.
I decided on Wednesday to push forward. I have been smiling at this computer screen since I started and it’s Friday.
Having a grandchild is a blessing.
I always chuckled when I was stuck in traffic and would see a frame around a license plate that would read, “Happiness is being a Grandparent.’’
I get it now. Man, do I get it now.
And it’s not about having a grandchild, but about watching my daughter go about her duties as a mother. I know our granddaughter is in special and caring hands because of the parents she is fortunate to have.
Maddie changes every day, it seems. Spoken like true grandparents, we think she’s pretty incredible.
Yep, I’m ready for one of those frames that go around a license plate.
Jeff D’Alessio is News Editor of The News-Enterprise. He can
be reached at (270) 505-1757,
or at jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com