Many will not be sorry to look in the rearview mirror in just 16 short days and watch as this year becomes history. Let’s face it, 2020 started with a lot of promise just 12 short months ago with little hint of what this year would bring.
But for all the hassle and trouble that COVID-19 brought us this year, I for one would not have traded it for all the gold in Fort Knox.
You see, in next week’s publications, we will print the annual “Baby’s First Christmas” photos — a reader favorite in Gasconade County Republican for over 30 years. The last time this page included a picture that Connie and I had a connection to was 1995 — 25 years ago — the year our daughter Abigail was born.
This year the page in all three papers will include our two grandchildren.
My story begins around the same time as the coronavirus was starting to make it’s menacing presence felt — March. That is when Connie and I traveled to Bloomington, Ill., to spend four days and three nights at an Airbnb with our children and their spouses.
We were the second pair to arrive at our destination that fateful Thursday. Soon after, our son Ethan and his wife Hillary arrived. They were excited for Connie and me to open a box they brought from Madison, Wisc. for our mini vacation.
As soon as it was opened Connie started to cry. The box contained two tiny onesies with the words “Grandma, me and a big cuddle” and “It was grandpa’s idea” neatly inscribed on them.
This was a total surprise.
Since their wedding in 2015, the two love birds made no secret that they were NOT interested in having children. They would be focusing on their careers. Their love was enough.
Just last Christmas they reiterated the fact that their busy lives left no possibility for starting a family.
Giving us the world’s biggest “head fake” they had already begun trying to conceive Remy.
Married four months after Ethan and Hillary were hitched in 2015 was our oldest son, Jacob and his wife Jessica. Their child was not a surprise to anyone.
After being informed that having children naturally was a long shot, they decided to take the route of adoption.
An anonymous quote says “Born not from our flesh, but born in our hearts, you were longed for and wanted and loved from the start.”
Truer words could not be said of our first grandchild Kaylee Mae.
The adoption went quickly last spring when a young lady in Jefferson City, already with three children, decided to give up her fourth child to another loving family.
Coincidently she performed this selfless act so she could restart her education, find a career and raise her family.
As I compose this week’s column Connie is sitting in our great room, rocking this bundle of joy to sleep.
Thanks to Facetime — an app on our iPhones — and texting photos, we can keep in touch with Remy’s progress. I can’t imagine what it was like for grandparents with distant children before cell phones.
At one time I didn’t think I would ever join the exclusive organization that many my age have already reached, known as the grandparent club.
Kaylee was born on June 16, four months before Remy entered our lives on Oct. 12.
Two precious gifts, full of love and joy and worth the wait.
Adoptions are not finished legally until six months have passed. For that reason, Kaylee was not able to have a birth announcement in the pages of our newspapers.
Next week, her smiling face — alongside Remy’s — will appear on our Baby’s First Christmas page in each of our three publications.
If you welcomed a new addition to your family in 2020 you still have time to submit their picture.
A family is what happens when two people love each other so much that their love becomes too big. That love creates a child.
When God’s love for us became too big, he had to share his son, Jesus with us.
The motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “If I’d have known how much fun grandchildren would be, I would have been lots nicer to their parents.”
I hope you and your family also have something to be thankful for, no matter how small, that occurred in 2020.