I welcomed my first grandchild into the world this past Saturday night. Had you told me nine months ago I’d be writing this very article, I’d have turned away.
In last week’s newsletter, I shared very personal details regarding my daughter’s pregnancy. “Jessica” is just four months beyond 16 years of age.
Needless to say, I was, shall we say, distressed when I received the call on a bitter cold January evening. What parent wants to hear such news? But then again, what kid wants to deliver it?
The “latest” spread like wildfire, as these things do. And the pace and tone of the feelings and thoughts – spoken and un – were fast and furious…
“Hopefully she’ll have the good sense to give it up for adoption.” “Does anyone know Planned Parenthood’s number?” “Let’s come together and support her, and the baby.” “She’s too young and naive to know what’s best for her.” “The father deserves an ass-kicking.” “He needs to do the right thing and just step aside.”
…and on and bloody on, ad nauseam. Talk is so cheap, isn’t it? (By the way, if you’re a newsletter subscriber, you know what came from my heart and mouth.)
So let me tell you what I saw and heard the evening of Saturday, September 10th – under a full moon…
Living some distance away, I arrived at the hospital 26 hours after Jessica was admitted to induce labor. Wanna’ know who was at her side from her admission through hours after giving birth? The father, his mother, Jessica’s mother, and Jessica’s BFF (must I explain?). Oh, and my Grandfather counterpart arrived shortly after I did.
So Jessica’s water finally broke and it was time to play hardball. Like two mischievous children, her BFF and I had our ears glued to the closed door. Know what we heard? The father was bellowing 1-10 counts as Jessica pushed in intervals. Both mothers were offering firm, but sweet, words of encouragement.
And as nature would have it, the wonder and beauty of life sprang forth from my daughter. In short order, all of us hugged, sharing the first of thousands of hours of joy to come.
Oh, I don’t know – will we “share” these times as the years ensue? Will Jessica and the father stay together? I’m not that smart.
But here’s what I do know. I am proud of my daughter for so many reasons. She took great care of herself, and her baby, throughout her pregnancy. And she handled herself with grace and dignity through the birthing experience.
What more could a father hope for in his daughter?
Ah, so you know you want to ask. Go ahead. “Yeah, but Bill – if you could do it over again – having it your way – would your daughter be a mother on September 12, 2011?”
Yeah. Just, yeah. And I’m a better man for it…