I'm going to be a grandpa ... again!
My son, John, and daughter-in-law, Cassie, have informed me they're in the family way for a second time. This child is due Nov. 18.
One year, two grandbabies.
My granddaughter, Harper, was due last Nov. 19. She arrived a bit early, on Nov. 3, 2008.
Now, here comes another one. John and Cassie apparently have taken literally the biblical admonition to be fruitful and multiply.
I am, once again, elated. And thankful to God, John and Cassie.
And surprised. John and Cassie sat me down in February 2008, shortly before they were married, to prepare me: Their doctor had said they might not be able to have children and almost certainly wouldn't be able to have them easily or quickly.
It might be a long time before you're a grandfather, they explained.
But Cassie got pregnant with Harper on their honeymoon.
This time around, I'm a little nervous, for a couple of reasons.
Harper's only 7 months old, but she's already my bosom pal.
I keep her Tuesday afternoons, from 12:30 until John gets in from work about 6:15. On Fridays, she usually spends the night with me.
I love having her with me, wouldn't trade that time for anything, but I've learned that taking care of an infant by myself — even though Harper's an exceptionally good-natured baby — pretty much wears me out. I don't have the stamina I used to have.
How in the world am I going to keep two babies? What if this second one is more active or cranky than Harper? I'm concerned I'm not up to baby-sitting both of them at the same time, and I don't want to slight either one.
My other, related fear is that I won't be as attached to this second child, that I'll unintentionally play favorites.
I've lost my mind over Harper. I've opened a college fund for her. I shop for little dresses. Where she's concerned, I'm helpless. When she gets old enough to start actually asking for clothes or toys or cars, I imagine I'll just sign over my paychecks.
Can I love a second grandchild that much?
Is there that much room in a single human heart?
If my mom were still here, she'd say I'm "borrowing trouble."
She'd be right. Borrowing trouble is always my tendency.
"Don't worry about it," my girlfriend, Liz, said. "I guarantee you, the minute you lay eyes on this new baby you'll be just as nuts about him or her."
That's probably true.
I see that capacity in other people. Since Harper came along, I've discovered a phenomenon I'd never noticed before. I'll call it the Fellowship of the Grandparents.
Because I own and manage 20 apartments, I'm almost daily in Wal-Mart or Lowe's buying supplies.
When I've got Harper, I take her with me. I transfer her car seat to a shopping cart and push her along as I look for paint, plumbing parts or smoke detectors.
What on other days is a 10-minute dash into a box store on Tuesdays is a 30- or 40-minute adventure. About every other aisle, and in almost every checkout lane, I'm approached by graying strangers.
"Grandchild?" they'll ask, peering into Harper's car seat.
"Oh yeah. This is my buddy."
"She's beautiful," they say, adding something like, "I've got four grandkids."
And then we launch into an animated conversation about our grandchildren and how brilliant and talented and all-around wonderful they are, even as clerks and younger shoppers with full heads of hair tap their feet and maneuver around us and scowl.
We don't care. There's nothing more important on our agendas than bragging about our grandkids. The rest of the world can go fish.
As I said, a lot of these other grandparents I meet have multiple grandchildren. And they're bonkers about each of them.
The more I think about it, the more I'm sure I'll be the same way.
This grandparenting business might be the greatest thing God ever invented. I can't wait to welcome our family's newest addition.