Other than maybe my first baseball glove, (a Wilson: Ray Jablonski), I have never held anything or anyone as gingerly, tenderly, carefully or tightly as I did that baby last night. I just couldn’t let go.

Small, blue/gray eyes peeked from a face resting on my inner elbow; tears trinkled here and there. I sat staring at perfection and couldn’t let go. There was hair— dark and lots of it. And long fingers. I kept looking, though, at his eyes. Were they not shiny slate stars forming a new constellation? Did they not say “Grandpa, not yet. Don’t get up yet.”

I couldn’t let go.

In a soothing, monotone Mr. Rogers voice, I spoke to him. (First impressions are important; Max and I were building a strong foundation). Surrounded by a sea of family, focused on the “heir apparent,” I talked to him softly and continuously—methodically bringing him up to date on the pre-Max years. It was magical; it was the two of us….and I couldn’t let go.

How many times before had I sat on that same couch in that same room? Did I ever imagine it would some day hold its place in history? Was I not crossing the Rubicon of my life? Others poised on the periphery, each craving a turn. Too bad, I thought. Look at his eyes! Read the stars.

This was by far the most intense, profound, humbling moment of my life. Bar none. Take that instant before you head down the aisle with a child—triple it…then add five. You still fall short. And so it was that as his right cheek pressed against my heart, as his left hand clasped my right thumb….as I regaled him with stories of the past, I just couldn’t let go.

It was the denouement of a three-day life arc thread together by pulsating moments:

Like Tuesday morning, maybe 8:30. I’m standing at (of all places) Rocky River Middle School and my cell rings. It’s Michael. “Dad,” he pounded, “I think Meredith’s water broke. We’re going to the hospital.“

Or ten hours later. I’m sitting at (of all places) a restaurant in Willoughby, Ohio. It’s noisy but my phone lights up. Michael. I bolt for the quiet outside, racing like the guys at Pamplona, all-the-while urging “What’s up?”“ Max is here!” he said.

I’m resting at the hotel now. Exhausted from joy, emotionally drained, I’m reeling with gratitude for a healthy baby.

He’s napping now— Max Parker Bogart is…so I will too. Now, before dinner.

Nighttime lurks, you see…and the stars will be out….and I can’t wait to see my favorite constellation.

2 Responses to “I CAN’T LET GO”

  1. Marc says:

    Congrats! It all sounds beautiful. Enjoy.

  2. Christine says:

    I’ve been waiting for this post, as always, it didn’t dissapoint. Lucky Grandpa. Max is so handsome! All that hair :) congrats!!

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