Dear Atticus, a letter from Grammy

Today is my mom’s birthday. Instead of me writing about her, I asked her to write her own letter to Atticus.

I don’t know how people have babies without family close by. Mike has often commented that we need a third person to help us. Though she lives 45 minutes away, Mom has been that third person for us, helping with food and watching Atticus and making sure we got naps if at all possible. It means more than we can say, especially because she is Atticus’s only grandparent.

Dear Atticus,

You may have noticed that, although I don’t actually live there with you and your mama and daddy, I seem to be around a lot. And with some regularity, you also seem to end up sleeping over here at my house. Well, you see, there is a really good reason for that. Several of them, in fact.

One is that I just plain love the dickens out of you. You have had my heart from the very beginning and I am not about to take it back any time soon. Well, not ever, in fact. I was there when you burst into this world (loudly objecting to being thrust into this bright, cold, unfamiliar place), and at that moment I fell madly and irrevocably in love with you. It still brings tears to my eyes even now thinking about how perfect and strong your little body was, yet how fragile and needy you were as you began your life. That day you brought a joy to my life that had been missing for some time, and you continue to bring joy every day.

Another reason is that I just can’t get enough of you. When you were only a tiny newborn, I felt like I could spend hours just watching you as you slept, delighting in every little movement or twitch or yawn. Then you would at times peer at me and the world around you with those beautiful blue eyes that were trying to open up and focus but were not yet quite able to. (One of my favorite photos is this one of you with the Winston Churchill look that your daddy snapped beside the fruit arrangement when you were just three days old. It still makes me laugh.)

Atticus Edible Bouquet

My, how you have grown over the past ten months since then, and you have continued to enthrall me and captivate me. Your quick and ready smile. Your zest for life. Your silly movements. Your figuring out sounds with your vocal cords and different mouth positions (Let’s practice now – “Gammee”). Your slobbery kisses. Your fascination with the world around you. Your joyous laugh. And, yes, even your determination and strong will. I can still spend hours just being with you and watching you, and I delight in it all.

I also think it is really cool when I look at you and realize that you actually have part of my DNA being carried on in you. That you are in some way part of the legacy that I leave for this world. That my life somehow lives on in you. I never used to think about that kind of thing very much, but I do more now that I am older. Moreover, when I consider that you also have some of your grandpa’s DNA as well as mine, it seems like even more of a big deal to me. Not only do you carry his name, which is a real honor and represents a great heritage, but a part of HIM lives on in you as well. Sometimes when I look at you or I see pictures of you, it is amazing how much Grandpa Ray is looking back. And that is not just wishful thinking on my part – several others have told me that too. You look a lot like your mom did as a baby, and everyone said she looked like HER daddy when she was little. (And, by the way, such a handsome boy you are!) Here is a picture of your grandpa when he was a little over 10 months old. Can you see a little resemblance?

Unfortunately you don’t have the blessing of having four grandparents like I did (for a while, anyway, until one of my grandmothers died when I was five). You only have me. Now on one hand, that means I don’t have to share you (which can definitely be an advantage ), but on the other, it is a big responsibility for me, and I want to do a good job. I am new to this grandmother thing, so that is another reason for wanting to see you as much as I can. In order to get this right, I need to get a LOT of practice and experience. (Can a person INTENTIONALLY be a slow learner?) Then maybe I can be a good Grammy, and the one that you deserve.

Finally, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how you light up and get excited when I come into the room. It makes my day every time! It makes me feel like maybe you enjoy being around me as much as I enjoy being around you. I also love it when you quietly fall asleep in my arms because I know you feel safe and secure. And it is also amazing when you wake up and smile at me like you are so happy to see me. Yes, I come around a lot and get you every chance that I can because I think you are just the greatest. I am so glad that you are MY special grandson, little Atticus, and I love you dearly!


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