I realize we just recently met, but I wanted to send a few thoughts along while they're still fresh in my memory. You probably don't know it yet, but we're going to be best buddies, hopefully for a long time.
I can't wait until I find out what you're going to call me – granddad, pop-pop, pappy, poppy, gramps, grandpa. It's going to be your call. I'll wear the title with pride.
By the way, you're beautiful. Both your grandmother and I saw that right away. Yes, I know, beautiful and manliness don't often go together. But I can't think of any adjective that better describes you. Those blue eyes and that light hair accentuate a strong profile that I'm sure is going to impress a lot of people as you grow older. You have already captured the hearts of your mother and father, your grandparents, and your Uncle Jim.
One of the first things I noticed was your firm handshake. That little hand latched on to my finger with a strong grip. Considering you were only a few hours old at the time, that was impressive. As you grow up you'll learn that a man's handshake is often indicative of the type of personality he has – a strong grip means a forceful individual, and weak grip, just the opposite. And those fingers, they are long for such a little tyke. Maybe you'll grow up to be a wide receiver, or even a piano player. Hey, whatever route you choose in life, I want you to know we're always going to be there for you, supporting you every step of the way.
We waited a long time for you to come along. That only makes you more special. As soon as I laid eyes on you, I realized that my life was never going to be the same again. What a thrill!
Your Mom, Thelma, had a rough delivery – 26 hours in labor. You sure weren't in any big hurry coming into this world. Can I blame you? But she toughed it out, and along with your dad, Mike, and with a little help from the doctors and nurses at Reading Hospital, you finally made your way into this world.
Things sure have changed since your dad's birth. Fathers weren't allowed in the delivery room back then. There was no such thing as birthing classes. Dads had three options. They could wait it out in a father's waiting room, where prospective dads sweated through the long hours, smoking cigarette after cigarette (yes, smoking was allowed in hospitals way back then), trying to calm their nerves. Or, they had the option of going home or back to work and waiting for a call after the baby arrived. I chose the latter, and it's kind of ironic that I learned of your birth while I was in the newsroom, the same kind of setting I was in when I learned about the births of your dad and your Uncle Jim.
I like the way they do it today much better than the old days, getting the fathers fully involved. Your dad even got to cut the cord. What a thrill that must have been. But I'm sure he was nervous. I probably would have fainted.
I know you're going to grow up to be an avid reader. With your father and your grandfather both working in the newspaper business, and your mother an English teacher, that's a given. Even your grandmother has a journalism background. Let's hope there are still newspapers to be read when you're grown up.
We're already making plans for the future.
Uncle Jim's going to teach you how to fish. He and your dad have been fishing since they were 3, so it won't be long until we'll be getting you involved. Hopefully, in not too many years, you'll be making a trip to that lake in Canada where your dad and uncle learned how to fish. There's always lots of action there, enough to keep a little guy from getting bored. We'll have a great time, out in the boat, just a couple of guys talking about guy things, waiting for a lunker to tug on our line.
I know your dad can't wait until you're old enough to throw and kick around a ball. Let's see now, we'll need a Derek Jeter jersey for the summer baseball season, and a Hines Ward jersey for the fall and winter football season. Uncle Jim is already working on brainwashing you into becoming a Texas Longhorns fan. But your dad (a die-hard Florida State fan) may have something to say about that.
I know you're going to grow up loving pets. There's already "Faith", and "Bailey" and "Lucy" and "Panther" and "Raygan" in the Urban menagerie ready to make room for you. Dogs and cats and little boys, what a great combination.
When your mother returns to teaching, your grandmother and me are going to see a lot of you. I still have a crib to put together in Jim's old room. Uncle Jim better help with that project or you'll be sleeping on the floor. I'm not that clever when it comes to putting stuff together. I always end up with extra nuts and bolts for some reason. Hope you don't inherit that trait.
I'm not so sure what kind of a world you're entering. In some ways it's fantastic, filled with such technology as computers and phones that text message. You have a cousin in Seattle, Washington, plus lots of friends all over the place, who learned of your birth only minutes after it took place. What a modern era we live in.
But on the other hand, you're also entering a universe in which we're fighting two wars. Our country is in the middle of a major recession. People are losing jobs left and right. Our country currently has a deficit of more than a trillion dollars, and it's growing by the minute. You guys, the future generation, are going to inherit that big headache.
But don't worry about that yet, Sean. Spend all the time you want being a little boy. You'll have plenty of time to worry about the world once you're grown up and are planning your own future. Until then, be assured you are going to have the best support group that you can imagine. Like I said earlier, we'll always be there for you. You won't ever have to ask.
With all my love,