New Opportunities!

“Of course you can bring them over, but wouldn’t it be faster if I came over there?” That would normally sound a bit urgent, but hearing this from Michelle, my wife, while waking me up at 2 am, it was pretty alarming. Ok, so I cleared my head, and realized that Michelle was probably talking to our son, who along with his wife Nicki, were expecting the birth of our latest grandson, I calmed myself and looked for what was coming next.

There’s a couple of things going on here, first, it’s our fifth grandchild, and while there’s certainly excitement and delight at the prospect of another grandchild, it’s 2:10 a.m. I could probably have waited for this news. And the second, perhaps even more a salient point was that when Michelle said “…I come over…” I knew it was me who would be getting dressed and rushing over to baby sit at this ridiculous hour. In all fairness, not that Michelle wasn’t willing, but getting dressed and out out the door, which was apparently imperative, was more my forte.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m trudging up the stairs to their apartment, to be greeted with, “I thought my mom was coming over?” Tyler, my son was not really disappointed to see me, but he somehow thought that his mother might have more experience assisting in this particular instance. And, as Nicki looked less then comfortable at the moment, I could see his point. While I did get a merit badge in first-aid, I’m not sure if my recollections of how to assist in a birth as learned from Boy’s Life was really going to be of much use.

With the expectant parents off to the hospital, grandchildren undisturbed in their slumber, I found the sofa beckoning me to continue my much needed sleep. In the morning, I was woken by the loving words of my now second youngest grandson, “Where’s Mom?” I dutifully described how baby brother Lincoln had been born not half an hour after mon and dad had left for the hospital, showed the boys a picture of their new brother which had appeared on my phone overnight and was very glad to see my lovely wife arriving to take over the all important duty of tending the grandkids as I rushed off to work.

A couple of days passed and and it was starting to gnaw on me that I had yet to see the latest addition to the family. While my wife ooed and awed,after her first visitation without me, I kept thinking, boy I’ve got to make some time to meet Lincoln. He’d been born early Tuesday morning, and by Friday I was really feeling guilty. Thank god, a family event was planned and my sin of omission, my lack of grand paternal felicity would finally be resolved.

As the entourage walked in on Saturday, there was the usual fanfare of greeting our kids, hugging the grandchildren, and peeking into the baby carrier that was holding the yet to be revealed subject of my guilt.

Yep, good looking baby, actually a great looking baby. I know I’m biased but he’s cute.

Hub bub and conversation, Lincoln gets fed, Nanny (Michelle) hold the baby, I keep peeking and finally, my wife sensing my want suggest that maybe Poppy, that’s me, would like to hold Lincoln.

Now, I have got to tell you, that in that moment, the second I got to hold this child, my life changed. I adore my grand-kids, each and every one of them is special and holds a very warm place in my heart, but this time, this time was different.

lincolnEven before I touched him, I sensed him, there was a bond, a feeling a wonderment that I don’t think I ever felt before. There’s was a security and a promise and vistas previously unseen by me that were revealed at just the touch of this child. I felt a future, a strength, a sense of posterity that had never crossed my mind before. Here a less than a week old baby had affected me in ways I’ve yet to comprehend.

It’s not that he’s any more special, nor do I feel more connected to him than the rest of the family, it was that moment I realized, that my vision, my perceptions were only a miniscule portion of the great experience of life. For some reason I suddenly felt that I was just a link in this continuum. That there was so much more that I may never see, but there was a contentment in seeing this baby with so much in front of him. It was literally an overwhelming moment. It was a moment that I didn’t want to end.

What was that all about, why in this one week of life’s journey did I suddenly come to see differently? How did I move from complacency, “here comes another one,” to feeling a need to pay attention, to literally an epiphany.

I think it’s about opportunity, much as in experiencing theatre. When we decide we’re going to see a show, we have a planned experience. In a general sense have an idea of what to expect, a vague notion of what the story may be about and we walk in with a degree of expectations.

But what if we didn’t? what if we looked at each new play we saw, the way we look at a new baby? An opportunity, a future different from our own, a panorama of experiences and possibilities that we can only dream of.

I celebrate the gifts that I’ve received, my family, my work, my life. And I look to the building of a better tomorrow through all the eyes of all the new babies, and all the new plays. I think about it!

About Peter Finlayson

Peter Finlayson is the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-chief of FootLights magazine and While working on a prelaw program at the University of Michigan, he happily got involved with the theatre program. Much to his mother’s chagrin, law school never happened, but in a career spanning more than 4 decades, Peter has performed, directed or designed more than 150 productions. In his spare time, he is working on a new play. You can follow him on Twitter @Thtrdog .

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