Waiting For Her Face
She was born on our special day—April 8—and now she's about to be four months old. And I'm waiting for her face.
Natalie Carol Howard, my newest grandchild, is a beautiful, perfect child to be sure. But the phrase “waiting for her face” keeps coming to me when I look at her smile. Right now she looks like a model baby with big eyes, clear skin, and a toothless, very wet grin. I try looking deeply and intently at her, staring for as long as I can to try to see it, but so far I cannot. I can't see beyond that baby girl to visualize the toddler she'll become; the little girl, the young teen, the beautiful woman.
I didn't really feel this way when her older sister was born three plus years ago. But looking at Bella now I get a joy at seeing the little girl she is—that very special and unique individual we know her to be. And I want to see that in Natalie. I'm waiting for HER face.
I'm anxiously waiting to hear her voice calling me Grandpa. I'm waiting to see where her imagination takes her as she discovers books and cartoon characters and toys and her Mom and Dad. She will no doubt try to do things her own way; try to forge her own identity separate from her sister's. And she will succeed. The burden of being the second child is offset by the advantages of being the youngest. Bella's old toys will find new life with Natalie and they will be forever hers to keep.
Many times while my daughter was pregnant with Natalie I said to my wife that I couldn't imagine a new baby in our lives. We had actually rearranged our whole lives to be near our grandchildren to be able to help them grow and not merely watch them grow from hundreds of miles away. Two children, two children-in-law, two grandchildren. Symmetry. And then came Natalie. Wow!
Natalie is the grandchild born right here where we now live. She is the one who, by birth, ties us all to our new lives here in our new hometown and new state. And she did it on a very special day for my wife and me—our 37th wedding anniversary. I know what she was saying: “Here I am, Grammy and Grandpa! It's me, Natalie! Hey, look at me!"
I'm here, Sweetie Pie. And I'm not going anywhere! I'm here every day to see you grow! And I am looking. You see, I'm waiting for your face.
Love always and always and always, Grandpa. 8/5/09