I am rich, very rich in daughters.
And then a year came when that blessing grew by two, then three and four and now, like wildfire into five, count them, five glorious little lives all their own called grandchildren. They snuck in on little ships one day when I was busy doing something else that seemed important.
I am not sure just how this all happened. There’s no manual, no playbook, nothing on being grampy. Just unwritten expectations that come without words or reason. Each of them, Kevin, Madison, Owen, Joshua and Zachary just moved in to the middle of who I am, set sail and changed whatever course I thought was mine.
Sometimes I look at each of them and say nothing. I just look at them, these little relatives, and wonder about the joys and storms each will face as their lives unfold into tomorrow. Already each owns real estate within my heart. Each makes me laugh, love, and worry in ways I have not known before.
Now one, Maddie, grips hard. My heart aches and soars for all she’s journeyed through and triumphed over in her grand, eventful life among us. Talk about stamina and strength! She’s jockeyed more white coats in thirty-four months than I’ve seen in my lifetime. She turns her concentration of picking up french fries into an art form. Hell, most anyone can walk, but Maddie turns every forward motion into footsteps of absolute fortitude, will and measurements of joy.
Still, there are rivers to cross. And I, one grandfather, help send and receive, send and receive as best I can. I pray for the boat, the gifted crew and fair weather. I wait and hold an image of one beautiful little girl called Madison Rose stepping out of that boat and with a nod of her chin and a wave of an arm, signals, “follow me, Grampy!” And yes, I certainly will.