Monday, July 14, 2008

When a Man Cries for Joy

40 years ago today I awoke in bed alone. It was the first time in 11 months I was alone. Alida was gone. And she wasn’t coming home for a few days. And more over she wasn’t alone. No she had not skipped town after 11 months of marriage. Something beautiful had happened.

It was the day after Dana, our first born, had arrived. Mommy and baby were doing well. Daddy was smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t stop. I was a father now and fathers are the happiest people alive – specially the new ones like me.

Yesterday we celebrated 40 wonderful years together with our daughter and her family. It was wonderful watching the way that the kids interact with all of us.

After dinner together we walked to Baskin and Robbins for Ice Cream. It is a treat spot for a day of celebrating. There along the sidewalk was the Lincoln Parade, Grandpa, Clifford, Emma, Grandma, Dana and Great Grandma Lincoln with her walker. What a bunch.

It was at that moment that it happened again. A deep happiness settled in all around me. It was the same one that I felt 40 years ago…but a wee bit different… in that instead of one special baby – there were two… a 13 year old on my right side and a 9 year old on my left.

As I held Emma’s soft hand she squeezed mine and she talked on. Then I put my hand on Clifford’s strong shoulders – the man is standing strong now… but still a boy willing to walk with his Grandpa. There is no girl yet to take him up ahead… or hold him back. This is the perfect moment that may never be again.

Emma asked questions about getting old… she wanted to know if when you get old, “Does your body slow down?” Great Grandma walks at one speed with her walker(but she walks) and it isn’t quite the speed that Emma and Clifford go. We were purposely on a slow stroll… so every one could stay together.

I think it was about then that I had tears in my eyes again. They felt the same as when their Mom was born 40 years ago at almost that same hour. I know I had a lump in my throat. When a man cries for joy it is his time to cherish.
I cried this morning early as I looked at a photo that our daughter took of me and the kids. Amazingly she caught the exact moment that the lump in my throat was sticking – I couldn’t answer Emma’s question.

Was it all serious? NO!

In the Ice Cream Shop we were sitting at the tables together. There was laughing and teasing – word sparing… just a fun time.

It was then that another special moment took place. I must write it here so that some day when I can’t get anymore out of my being… and maybe I am gone… no one will forget what was said.

Teasingly I said to Emma… “When you are 20 something and in University, I will enroll in your class with you. Won’t that be cool to have your Grandpa studying the same stuff you are? I could help you.”

She responded quickly, “I don’t think so Grandpa, you will be dead!”

Whoa! That is a challenge. That is only 11 years from now… and I will only be 75 – if I am not dead… ahem. I couldn’t leave that challenge alone…

My response was more direct, “Uh uh… in 11 years from now Grandma will be gone(dead), I will be in your University Class with you and guess what?”

“What?” she grinned back at me ready for the next challenge.

I responded, “I will fall in love with one of your best friends, a class mate, then I will marry her. Your friend will become your Step Grandmother… and maybe…”

Before I got the rest out about having some children… she knew how to turn the subject her way…

“Grandpa have you been snipped down there?” Then with glee she added her hand action of snipping her fingers like a pair of scissors and pointed to below the table top.

“Nope!” was my reply and grinned at her… to which she yelled real loud for everyone in the Ice Cream Shop to hear… “I WON’T let that happen!”

Please remember that Emma is 9 years old.

Her wise 40 year old mommy said, “Don’t worry Emma, I will not allow that to happen either.

Peals of laughter were everywhere in that little shop. It was good. So with that note we left.

I tried to have her understand that her new possible, step, fellow grandchildren would be fun… but by then she had her hands over her ears yelling… “I can’t hear you…!”

Dana’s comment was a good sum up to that event…“I would have never asked my Grandfather if he had been snipped down there…!”

When a man cries – it may be that he has just heard the funniest thing that could ever be said to him by his granddaughter… Oh Boy.

(Please – please – please – would someone please tell this story at her wedding so that her young fellow and his family will truly understand what they are in for…? If I am there… I will do it myself… then I am going to dance with some pretty young thing…)

The lump is there again and yes I am crying this morning… crying for joy.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
(Abraham was 100 when he had his first born, Isaac.)


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