A funny thing happened on the way to the rest of my life.
Yesterday morning at 12:58am, my best friend and his wife gave birth to a son. Rumor has it that she did most of the work. I served merely as a pre-marital counselor and general life-coach to the male half of the dynamic duo who created the angel you see in the picture which accompanies this post. However, in the future, I expect I’ll be babysitting, possibly the odd stint of spilling the secrets to life that the little guy’s father might be reluctant to disclose.
I have no idea where they came up with Grant’s first name, but he got his middle name from me. Yeah, I know, right? It sounds all crazy, but his father told me that his middle name was, in fact, after me. I’m pretty sure I started saying stupid things right about then and, let me assure you, not just because it was 1:30 in the morning and I’d been up so late it was early. I have a slightly hard time with precisely what motivated that, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more flattered or honored.
I hope they don’t think it’s going to keep me from spoiling this kid rotten, though, because, if anything, it’s going to make it that much easier to justify in my head.
I sort of have a funny relationship with other people’s babies these days.
You see, there was a time that I was a de facto father. I was on the lease-to-own program with my ex-wife’s kid. But, I did hope to one day make my own replacement from scratch. Unfortunately, one of the quirky side-effects of my chemotherapy was sterility. Now, I’ll grant you that the strangely optimistic oncologist who broke that news to me also allowed that, as I was “young”, I might eventually recover enough from that to be a viable agent of reproductive biology. Of course, that would generally require a partner, which I’m currently lacking, but that actually seems like the least of my problems with that whole process.
In any case, all those things have led me to, well, to get a little funny around other people’s kids, especially the freshly decanted ones.
Most of the people I hang with these days don’t know me as a father. I was one, though, and, I’d like to think, a pretty good one, in spite of how things seem to have worked out. I suspect they thought I was somewhat terrified of breaking the adorable, little monster, and, I suppose I was. I generally have started with kids after they were verbal and learning to stumble around their surroundings like a veteran drunk. Though, I do have to admit, I was gratified when someone asked if Uncle Jim wanted to hold Grant today and my friend replied immediately, without any hesitation or visible trepidation whatsoever, that “of course he would!”, which was, of course, quite true.
I’ll have you know Grant drifted off to sleep in my arms as I cooed to him in a very manly and macho fashion. In fact, I would not be surprised one bit if we set a precedent with that, since the men in my family do have the most oddly soothing voices, especially when we slide gently into middle age.
Apparently, the women in the room all decided that I was quite adorable with little Grant James. That may be something I use later, by the way. I’m not above volunteering to take my namesake for a walk in the park or a ride in the car as an excuse to troll for available women. For that kind of bait, I’d even change diapers. Really.
You can expect to see and hear more about Grant James Fordham as the years go by and we get to know him.
I don’t know how you all feel about all that, but I’m looking forward to it.
Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If you want others to be happy, practise compassion.
If you want to be happy, practise compassion."
--The Dalai Lama