I’M GOING TO BE A GRANDPA! How Nancy and I are Getting Ready for the Baby
Just before the coronavirus pandemic hit Nevada, my wife, Nancy, and I got some amazing news from one of our daughters: We’re going to be grandparents! The baby is due in September, and our family couldn’t be more excited. Though we’re trying to give Mom and baby some space, helping our daughter get ready has been a real joy over the last few months and kept us busy during social distancing. To prepare for the arrival of our little grandson, Nancy has started putting together a collection of our daughters’ all-time favorite kids’ books. It has been fun to go through our stash together and reminisce about reading to our girls when they were small. I think my all-time favorites are “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak and the “Little Bear” series by Else Holmelund Minarik. However, the girls themselves always had a soft spot for poetry and Mary Ann Hoberman’s quirky book, “The Lady With the Alligator Purse.” I have to credit a lot of this interest in poetry to Nancy’s dad. He used to be a professor at Northwest Missouri State University and his specialty was teaching kids to read. He had a real way with children, and I always thought he had the kind of grandfatherly personality I’d love to emulate. Because of his influence, we had lots of books of children’s poetry in the house, including works by Carl Sandburg and Robert Louis Stevenson. He was such a big fan of Stevenson, in fact, that when Nancy’s dad and his wife were working as missionaries on the Samoan Islands, they made a special trip to visit his grave. Although Shell Silverstein was all the rage back then, he wasn’t on the professor’s list, so he never got a reputation in our house.
Our girls really responded well when we read poetry to them, so of course, there are poems from back then that I’ve read so many times I still have lines memorized. One of them is “Arithmetic” by Carl Sandburg, a clever poem that ends with the line: “If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic, you or your mother?” Another is “Bed in Summer” by Robert Louis Stevenson, which tells the story of a small child struggling to go to bed while it’s still light out. I always think about that poem this time of year. It goes like this:
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you, When all the sky is clear and blue, And I should like so much to play, To have to go to bed by day?
I’m looking forward to when I get to hold my first grandchild and read him these poems that I love. Nancy and I were so pleased to find out the big news in March, and planning for the baby’s arrival has been quite wonderful. If you have children or grandchildren of your own who are young enough to enjoy bedtime stories, consider picking up a book of poems by Sandburg or Stevenson. I promise you won’t regret it!
In winter I get up at night And dress by yellow candle-light. In summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day.
Wishing you safety and good health,
I have to go to bed and see The birds still hopping on the tree,
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