Monday, December 23, 2013

Caring for Bailey and warming my heart

Bailey fed, dry and happy and spending
the day with Pops. Can you say ahhh!
I finished up my first week of Bailey sitting recently and, somewhat miraculously, both my granddaughter and I are still around and fond of one another.

My daughter Lauren has headed back to work and, thankfully, there’s a gaggle of grandparents available to handle daycare. For a bunch of logistical reasons, I was the lucky guy, along with an assist from the always lovely Miss Wendy, tapped to spend time with Bailey last week.
It’s been an adventure!

At its heart, the job can be summed up in one word: poop and pee. Okay, that’s actually three words; but, hopefully, you get the idea. I know there’s the whole feeding thing also. But I sort of group that in with the pooping and peeing; it’s all one ongoing cycle!
Truth to tell, the real work is best defined as simply being. I’ll explain.

For most of my life I had a job that defined success by my doing something. I imagine that pretty much captures the point of most jobs, whether you’re making widgets, managing a hedge fund or digging ditches. In my case, I played with words as a reporter and editor for newspapers across the Land of Cotton.
Caring for Bailey does involve a bit of work. But after I spend a few minutes each day feeding her and making sure her diaper is clean, what I’m really doing is simply being with her. I hold and gently rock her; I hum songs from my childhood and make up tunes that keep her happy; I make silly faces and silly noises; I walk her about the house in my arms when she’s fussy and on pleasant days push her around the neighborhood in a stroller.

I learned all these special tricks over three decades ago after Wendy and I went looking for a pediatrician who, we hoped, would be able to detail the secrets of childcare. Wendy was pregnant and we didn’t have a clue about taking care of a baby.
Stephen King told us not to worry. He’s the doctor we found to take care of Lauren and, serendipitously, is the senior physician now in the practice that Lauren and Josh selected for Bailey’s care.  When we met all those years ago I was expecting him to listen to our concerns and then produce a spread sheet and expansive notes on how and when to do everything – feeding, diapering, bathing, sleeping.

Instead, he offered three words of advice: Love your baby. He then added, “Everything will be okay.” And, well, it was and is.
That’s what I’m doing now with Bailey, loving her.

And if I or Wendy or Janice – that would be Josh’s Mom and Bailey’s other Grandma – do our job really well, if we keep Bailey fed and dry, safe and happy, we get to hold her while she sleeps contentedly in our arms or offers up an innocent smile that is achingly beautiful.
That’s the kind of holiday bonus that’s really meaningful. It doesn’t have much purchasing power, but it certainly warms the heart on a chilly winter day.

1 comment:

  1. lovely. the best things in life are free. bailey's smile on a chilly day? don't get much better than that! happy diaper changing and 2014!