When I was much younger, I often devoted this column to ramblings about my children. I've never been truly fond of columnists who write incessantly about their offspring. My gosh, a kid can only be so cute and smart! At some point the kids' antics are just a way to fill a column and are of little interest to anyone other than the author.
But then came Chloe.
Chloe Elizabeth Caskey arrived Wednesday evening, July 6. She's our first grandchild which makes her special from the very start. And, yes indeed, I will be that overbearing grandfather who talks constantly of every minor achievement whether you care to listen or not. If you run into me on the street, expect to see a handful of new baby pictures. I never expected it would be that way but now that she has arrived, I guarantee you I will wear my welcome thin with news of Chloe.
Mother and father are both doing fine. The look in their eyes when they hold that precious child shows that Chloe has a bright future with two supportive parents who will change their lives to match the needs of their little angel. Both sets of grandparents - not to mention great-grandparents - are giddy with excitement. It helps that the grandparents have known each other for far more years than we'll mention. And I suspect that, too, bodes well for Miss Chloe.
Into this joy however comes the reality of the world that lies ahead for Chloe and the millions of other newcomers. The top headline of the day for Chloe's arrival was the bombing in London. The night before she was born, a St. Louis police officer died in the very same hospital.
Maybe it's the duty of a grandparent to worry about the future for that special grandchild. Duty or not, I shall worry. My generation perhaps is much to blame for the predicaments that Chloe's generation must address. I so wish it were not so.
My parents' generation - the Greatest Generation according to most - handed a world to me that offered promise and hope. My generation in the meantime cannot make that same pledge. Our children faced a host of changes - some good and some bad. But the Chloes of the world who represent the next generation will inherit a society increasingly polarized and divided along countless political, geographic, religious and social lines.
I strongly suspect that Chloe will live in a world of amazing changes in technology. Health issues of concern today may well be relegated to the history books for the next generation. Obstacles we face today may be distant memories for Chloe.
Yet to this hope and promise comes the reality that makes today's headlines. It serves no purpose to point a finger of blame but the burden placed on the next generation seems virtually unbearable. So we pray for resolution and guidance. And we wait for our prayers to be answered.
The miracle of birth cannot be overstated. I now know that. Anxiety quickly gave way to excitement and excitement then gave way to love. How quickly we change.
I hope my life is filled with grandchildren and - God willing - someday great-
grandchildren. But for now, one small bundle of joy will suffice. The moment her tiny hand grabbed my little finger, it was all over. I've heard other grandparents tell of such things. Now I know.
I can't promise there won't be future columns about the first word, the first step, the first anything. But even if those magical moments don't make their way into this column, rest assured they will be greeted with joy and sometimes tears.
Isn't it funny how sometimes the smallest gifts can bring the greatest joy.