I have to say I was not thrilled to learn, at age forty-two, that my eighteen-year-old son was going to become a daddy; I was still dealing with the fact that he'd be going into the Army, for heaven's sake!
When Arick was born, Kat wasn't done with high school, so she got a babysitter for her infant son. He cried all the time (exactly as his daddy had done as a baby) and went through at least three babysitters in a couple weeks' time. Finally I said, "OK... pay me whatever you are paying them, and I'll watch him." Honestly, I was afraid someone would lose patience with my squalling grandchild and hurt him!
For some reason, I used to call Arick "Baby Boy", and he responded to that as though it were his name. I recall, near Mother's Day, teaching him to say "momma" by putting my lips against his cheek and saying it. He was barely six months old at the time, but he picked it right up. His vocal skills were always amazing to me.
He and his mom joined Jim in Germany when he was about six months old. It broke mine and Cliff's hearts. We didn't see him again until he was two, and here's what he looked like when he returned to the USA:
Arick had gotten over his constant crying, but he was a high-energy child who craved lots of attention. I will always say that nobody has ever loved me as whole-heartedly and unreservedly as Arick did at age two. One time I left for work at a local orchard on my bike without kissing him goodbye; Kat said he cried for an hour afterward.
I recall looking out the window one morning with two-year-old Arick at my side, and making the remark, "Hey, it's raining... it wasn't supposed to rain today."
"Maybe God shanged His mind," Arick innocently replied.
He's nineteen now, and still affectionate and free with his hugs. I try not to know too much about his life because teenagers can drive you crazy with worry. I just enjoy him the best I can. I cherish every memory of my very first grandbaby.