Letter to My Grandchild

Dear Joel,

As Joseph was a special son of Jacobís old age, you are the grandson of my old age. Iíll not give you a multicolored coat, but Iíll always have a special love for you.

Even though you are only nine months old, you have given so much joy. Your tiny hands hold my fingers with a vise-like grip as you pull yourself up hoping to walk. When you finally relax in my arms, I feel your acceptance. My joy is doubled when I see the joy you give to your mom and dad.

Your mother described your recent outing to me. "Joel liked the soft purple and blue light filtering through the stained-glass panels as he entered the childrenís section of the Plano library. He focused on the bright colors of the train on the wall and the lion leaping through a fiery hoop in the circus display. The puppets in accessible boxes on the bottom shelf of one of the bookcases fascinated him. Dad, as I watched Joel, it reminded me of my own childhood in Tulsa when Mom would take me to the library every week."

Joel, your mother told me that your eyes follow the bright yellow, salmon and purple spirals in the turning gears on the screen as you watch and listen to the "Baby Shakespeare" video that you checked out from the library. The poems selected by the Baby Einstein Company have been penned by the great masters. Your mother said that they are written in rhythms and about subjects that encourage you to kick your dimpled legs with glee. The bright green, orange, and gold leaves described by Robert Frost as "natureís first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold", the butterfly "self-poised upon that yellow flower" in the words of William Wordsworth, and the train, the "..dragon that roars in the dark", all catch your interest and evoke baby accolades of "goo, goo, gooooo". When you are older, youíll likely not remember these experiences, but the knowledge will be securely stored in the innermost cells of your brain.

In May 1968 when your mother was ten years old, I wrote these words to her:

"I love you because -

You practice the piano at 6:30 each morning.

You wanted to win the spelling bee.

You stay with your jobs until they are done right.

You read so intently.

You have such enthusiasm for life.

You play so hard.

You are so generous.

You are pretty.

You work hard on your schoolwork."

Joel, my guess is that when you are ten, your mom and dad will have a love list for you.

In May 1980 as your mother began life on her own after college at age twenty-two, I wrote her a second letter. This one was about lifeís journey. I told your mother, and I would say to you, "Do what feels right for you, not what others expect you to do. You will have goals and objectives for the total of life of which vocation is only a part."

The last paragraph of the two-page letter to your mother says, "You will come to know when you are fifty that God replaces the energy of youth with wisdom for the aging. It is through the eyes of wisdom that I communicate the thoughts of this letter. Iím wondering how you might feel about parental counsel. When I was your age, I thought I knew more than my mother did, and she let me think so. Today, I see her genius in human affairs beyond my hope to grow."

Joel, when you are twenty-two and beginning life on your own, remember you can always call on your mom and dad, for they have wisdom.

Love, Grandpa John

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