Editor's views: Life slows to a crawl with new grandchild

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August 11, 2013

“I can't wait until … ”

The words had barely left my mouth when I caught myself.

Don't do that. Don't rush things. Embrace every moment.

I was adoring my new granddaughter, Emilia Mae Angus, when I started to look ahead. Emilia was born Aug. 2 to my oldest son, Troy, and his wife, Marni. They live in Pewaukee, and the baby was born in Elmbrook Memorial Hospital in Brookfield.

My wife, Gail, Marni's mom, Karen Winn, and I were in the waiting room during the last hours of Emilia's delivery. Time was dragging, and we were growing anxious. Then, the hospital did this cool thing that apparently many of them do these days. The notes of “Rock-a-bye Baby” came through the speakers and danced around the halls and rooms of Elmbrook Memorial. We knew our baby had arrived.

An hour or so later, Troy came down the hall with the official news. It had been a tough labor, but all was well with mom and daughter. A half-hour later, he called us into the room, and we saw our granddaughter for the first time. She took my breath away.

Every grandchild is beautiful to every grandparent. Emmy, as she'll be called, was a peanut at just 7 pounds, and she had a perfect round face, big blue eyes and soft, curly brown hair. I couldn't stop staring at her then, and I can't now whenever I get the chance.

I've heard from many friends about how being a grandparent is the greatest thing. It's even better, in many ways, than being a parent. The obvious reasons are that you get to love, enjoy and spoil the child and leave the dirty work to the parents. I'm all in with that.

More than that, though, I think grandparents are in a better place to appreciate the wonder of every first, of every development, of every precious moment of their grandchild's life.

Gail and I were young parents, and we had three sons in three years. Twins will do that. We were overwhelmed. We got lots of help from our parents, especially Gail's mom, but we were still on our own a lot. Survival was our primary thought, not stepping back and taking in the lives that were unfolding before our eyes.

Looking back, those were the best of times. We were broke. We were squeezed into a tiny house. We were exhausted much of the time. But we were a family, and we had so much fun. I remember some of it, and I see it in the faces of all of us in the photos from those days.

Still, we didn't have the experience or wisdom to understand how quickly those times would pass. We were up to our ears in diaper changes and feedings and later school activities and ballgames, and we thought the craziness would never end.

But it did—much too soon.

As you hit the upper reaches of middle age, and as you realize that you've got many more years behind you than ahead, the value of time becomes frighteningly clear.

The birth of my first grandchild brought that home in a new way. I'd love to dance at her wedding. If Emilia marries at 25, I'll be 82. Will I make it? Maybe, maybe not. And that's a relatively early milestone in what I hope is a long life of them. I surely won't be around for many of the rest.

I'm here now, though, and I vow to make the most of every minute with Emmy. From infant on, each stage of life has wonders all its own. I'm taking them all in, one by one, slowly, fully, with my eyes and arms wide open.

As for the next stages and the new joys they are sure to bring? They can wait.

Scott W. Angus is editor of The Gazette and vice president of news for Bliss Communications. His email is sangus@gazettextra.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @sangus_.


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