He’ll be a third baseman, no doubt. Taller, thinner perhaps, but in the RonSanto-Ron Pollack mold. Later, though. Right now Max just lifting his head, gurgling, smiling and sleeping means he’s hit for the cycle. MLB can wait.

The kid and I—we have something in common. Never was there a time that I didn’t feel loved. Ever. He’s playing in the same park.

‘ Not just nuclear family, by the way…I mean horizontal family. I’m talking aunts and uncles and cousins. Always around. It was years ago, but I knew then as I know now…that with all the tumult and all the noise comes all the love.

Hal and I, (reverentially referred to in family circles as “The Boys”), were surrounded from birth by a myriad of kinfolk, some of whom emerged from the woodwork.

WE were the lucky ones.

To our east lived the Fentons, transplanted from Detroit. The Gelfands next door had cousins in Florida and Eddie (two doors down)? He was the only child of only children. But The Boys? We had a corner house primed for Sunday pop-ins by a young, expanding clan prone to do “drive-bys.” For kids in the boomtown of South Euclid, it was idyllic. We were just never alone.

Enter Max Parker Bogart, similarly blessed.

Cradling him this weekend, cherishing the burps, the gurgles….sticking my tongue out (waiting for his smile), I couldn’t help but sense the enormous warmth around him. Not just the nuclear family either; I’m talking horizontal.

And don’t tell me kids don’t know. They know. Or at least they feel.

To this day Hal and I see the smile on Pinky’s face, the glow on Mr. Adelman…and Herschel on his head. These were not our closest relatives. (Indeed, Mr. Adelman came in the back door). But they were there. And no, we didn’t always get what was going on, but we knew what was going down. It was fun; it was love.

I’m guessing little Max enjoys the show. The house packed: Brother Steve blaming Michael’s seat for Wisconsin’s game-changing run…endless playing of the pre-recorded “Stacy Bogart” jingle…Brother Matt walking in with “Hey, Big Dogg.” It was fun. It was love.

I’m not an idiot. I know he really doesn’t know. But he DOES feel. Like we did. As a grandfather, can I be any less than thrilled? Can I be grateful enough that he’s encompassed by voice…by laughter? Plants given sunshine thrive. Max, nourished by family sunshine can’t help but be one happy camper.

I’m home now…two states away…

Out east the little tyke basks in the surroundsound of family in the spring training of his life. Healthy, eyes wide open…he’s working on a perfect game.

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