When my daughter Darlana told me earlier this year I would be a grandfather I was forced to face a score of different feelings.
This was totally unknown territory, after all. I am a father in every way, but it was through legal means, not biological. I did not go through the birth and diaper stages. Fatherhood became entrenched gradually, through years of huge doses of trial and error.
Grandfatherdom on the other hand would not offer that luxury. In moments of reflection, came many questions of what type of grandfather I could be. All kinds of answers came and went, but the only one that stuck was that it would really be a time to man up, and quickly.
On the morning of Dec. 13 I went to the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary. I joined my kid’s amazing in-laws Donnie and Nelda, and Darlana’s mom Darlis and her partner Kevin. We were all so excited, although the scribbler was winging it, trying to sort out what was going on in this scary, uncharted territory. There was sheer terror when I frequently future-tripped to the moment when I would be asked to hold the newborn grandson.
But most emotionally draining was that it was a challenging delivery for my daughter. I found myself overwhelmed with feelings beyond my understanding, but I did instantly recognize desperate worry for my kid and soon to be born grandchild. Yes, uncharted territory, but Donnie and Kevin were a huge help in putting everything in perspective. All shall be well, said Donnie, and it was.
Andrew William was born at 1:32 p.m. on Dec. 13. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.
But the holding thing? Only once before have I ever held a baby, and that was back in 1975 for my niece Melanie’s baptism.
And then Nelda put out the question, “Johnnie, do you want to hold Andrew?” I did. The first time I fumbled and bumbled, but I did whisper in his ear, “Welcome to this world, Andy.” On the second go-round, Andy, then just two hours old, looked at me and smiled. I regaled this to everyone. Darlana’s mother then exclaimed somewhat uproariously, “Johnnie, they do that when they fluff.”
I chuckled too, but more importantly, I finally arrived at that special magical point, one that is life altering, a moment when everything I have come to believe changes. I am no longer just a scribbler, friend and father. I am more, much more.
I am Grampy Johnnie, and there is nothing in the world better than that.
Johnnie Bachusky is the editor of the Innisfail Province.