Becoming a teenager not just mark on calendar

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 1/17/19

My first-born grandchild, who happens to be the only guy out of a total of six folks in that category, entered the great unknown world of “teendom” last week.

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Becoming a teenager not just mark on calendar

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My first-born grandchild, who happens to be the only guy out of a total of six folks in that category, entered the great unknown world of “teendom” last week.
He took great delight in asking his mother, my first-born, for about two months or so before the event, “Do you know you’re going to be the mother of a teenager soon?” I’m pretty sure she knew that – although she, her mother and I all think he should be only about six.
The reality, though, is the numbers don’t lie and it’s been 13 years since that night at Rex Hospital in Raleigh when he announced his arrival and presence. I got my hands on him as soon as possible, partly so I could endow him whatever greatness I might possess, if any.
At least, that’s what my mama often said. She was big on whoever carried the baby from the hospital would find that the infant would grow up to be like that person in nature and personality. I didn’t get to do those honors but I did hold the little guy as much and as often as I could.
Today that would be kinda hard, as in dang near impossible. It won’t be long, at the rate he’s going, until he’s 6 feet or more tall and he weighs considerably more now than the eight pounds or so he carried on his birth day.
I watched him learn to sit up, to crawl, to walk and run. It’s hard to remember those unsteady attempts at left-right today as I watch him run up and down the basketball court, dribbling the ball and weaving in and out of traffic. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that is not a characteristic I gave him. My brief and feeble school basketball career consisted of being the last guy down the court, hence earning the nickname “Lightning” as a behind the backslap in the face.
I hope I have instilled some traits in the young lad, however. Reading, for instance. He has quite a library already and I’d like to think some of that got started as he sat on the couch with Shirley and me and we read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” a gazillion times.
And there are other things we share – corny jokes, puns, meals at the Waffle House, episodes of the original “Twilight Zone” (the one with Rod Serling), an understanding and sense of right and wrong. I know I’m not in this business alone: there are his folks, his extended family, his church and teachers, good friends, his dog Peter . . . and who knows who in the future.
I want to stay around as long as I can and spend more time with him, provided he can work me into his growing busy schedule. And therein is the rub: as he gets older, he – and others – spreads his wings and flies farther and longer.
I love him dearly; I think he knows that, as much as a 13-year old boy will admit or say it. I hope he remembers me when he’s a granddaddy.


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