My stepdaughter had a baby a couple of days ago.  I guess that makes me a step-grandad.  And Diana a step-step-grandma.  We live in a strange world these days...

What a different experience from when my kids were born.  I had a picture in my inbox a couple of hours after the event.  My daughter, her fiance, another pair of friends, the baby's father, his parents, and my ex-wife were all in attendence, although not all in the birthing room at the height of the action, thank goodness.  But there is a wonderful picture of mom, dad, and baby, surrounded by family and friends, at 2:30AM, less than an hour after the baby was born.

I wish I could have been there.  I'm going out to see them over the 4th, so I'll write more details later.

I may be unusual in my generation as a man who really likes babies, but I do.  I was blessed to be able to work at home a lot when my kids were little, and I took advantage of it.  Their souls are so touchable, unlike adults.

I'm also blessed in having memories that go back into my crib.  I can access the child in me, the baby in me, just by remembering.  Why should this be?  Might it have something to do with being left-handed?  Or perhaps it was that I was pushed to develop intellectually so hard.  My emotional memories were much harder to recover.

I loved raising my kids.  And even though Diana's kids are teenagers now, I still feel very comfortable stepping into the role of male authority figure.  And perhaps even role model.

Back when I was in my twenties, there was a movement called ZPG--Zero Population Growth.  The main tenet was that every couple should have at most two children, so the population would stabilize.  You don't hear much about that now, but it was influential in my circles, and my wife and I stopped at 2, largely out of priciple (although exhaustion had something to do with it too).  My ex-wife and her husband stopped at two for similar reasons.  Diana had never heard of ZPG, but she stopped at two also.  So I had one kid to replace myself, but ended up jointly involved in raising six.  And I do feel blessed...

We had a perfect summmer weekend here.  Hot, not as humid as it might have been, a breeze, puffy white clouds.  And we spent part of it at a state park with a group of friends of friends having a cookout and picnic.  Most of the couples had smaller children, so I got to remember how it is to deal with two-year-olds, into another thing before you have finished repairing the damage from the last thing they were into.  The teenagers were enough, of both sexes, to provoke a bit of flirting and awkwardness.  The parents were laid back and enjoying their kids and their friends and the weather and the setting.  The food was good too, although turkeyburgers will never replace real food in my book.

Diana is getting settled in enough to start getting concerned about my weight.  And I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to do something about it.  The number of low-calorie things that are showing up in the fridge is beginning to give me the creeps.  I know she means well.  But I've been there, done that, and it didn't work.  I'm not inclined to make this journal a weight loss one--I find them boring to read.  But if I discover the secret, I'll let you know.

One funny thing happened this week.  Diana has been driving Yson to summer school this summer, where he is taking an enrichment class in French.  It's about 1/2 hour drive, so she got a book on tape, The Alchemist, to make the trip go by faster.  I had read the book, so when they suggested turning it on on the way to the picnic, I said "sure!".  Yson commented that the writing style of the author was very strange--that it seemed that he was jumping back and forth in time.  I said I hadn't recalled this.  We listened to the story, and all of a sudden, at a climactic moment, the story jumped back to near the beginning.  I was amazed.

To make a long story short, somehow the "Shuffle" button on the CD player had been pushed!  We were getting the chapters in random order!  It's a good thing Yson didn't write a book report talking about the writer's strange style of flashbacks...

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2002 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.