One am. There is a full moon, the most incredible full moon he has ever seen. He tosses and turns on his bed. He feels restless; he can’t really say why. Finally he falls asleep, only to be startled by the sound of his phone. It’s his son from London saying his wife’s waters have broken and they are going to the hospital. The baby – a girl, his first grandchild – is going to be born today.
Naturally he can’t sleep any more. Nor does he want to. He feels like sharing the news, but at this hour?! He gets up. I’d better book my flight to London. I have to get there as soon as possible, he thinks. And he sits in front of his laptop and starts checking the flights, while he vaguely remembers someone telling him it was highly likely the baby would be born today due to the change of the moon, and after all this moon was special…old wives’ tales, he mutters to himself. But he wonders.
6 am. He is on his way to the office. He still has a few hours before his plane at 2 pm. He couldn’t find one before, so he had to settle for that. His daughter in law is as well as she can be, she has no contractions, they are inducing labour…of course his son is nervous, what future father would not be when his wife is about to give birth? Birth is such a natural process, but at the same time it is so complicated, it can go so well or it can go so wrong…he drives away all negative thoughts from his head and tries to imagine the baby, what she will look like, will she take after his son who is dark or after the mother who is blonde and green eyed? Still he wonders.
He is now at the office and he grumbles as he realizes he will have to go back home as he has forgotten some gifts for the baby. He gets into the car and drives there and back. He is nervous. Still no news but everything is going normally, so said his son.
He is about to board the plane when the phone rings. He answers the phone and he hears his son’s voice on the other side, a voice filled with emotion saying “Dad, she is born. Our girl is born. All went well. You have become a grandfather!”
At this point he is overwhelmed by a strange, new – and then perhaps not so new – sensation of love, relief, happiness, wonder…so many feelings at the same time. He cannot utter a word and as his son calls “Dad, Dad” on the other side of the line he starts crying, flooded by so many emotions, unable to stop the tears flowing down his face. Suddenly he is back to earth and he notices that his fellow passengers are looking at him. He tries to compose himself and tells his son he is all right and they both laugh through the tears.
On the plane he feels exhausted by the turmoil of emotions he has been feeling in the last few hours (and the lack of sleep, of course). He is dozing when they land at Heathrow airport. Soon he’s getting into the cab his son ordered for him. He goes straight to the hospital. He has to hurry, unless he gets there after visiting hours. No way, he thinks. I’ll see my granddaughter today even if I have to break in. But no need, he is still on time. Finally the cab stops in front of the hospital and he looks out for the room. When he gets there his son comes to greet him at the door. They are locked in an embrace for so many minutes he could not say…they laugh, they cry, they look at each other, they cry again…his son, his firstborn, his little boy who grew up and became a man, is now a father…and then they come apart and he sees her, this tiny scrap of a person lying in a cot beside her mother…he sees a pink face and black hair and he feels his heart stop – yes, it’s your granddaughter – a voice says inside him. Your son’s daughter. You are now a grandfather. And now, finally, he is at peace, because he is inundated by an all too familiar feeling, the one that invaded him on the day his sons were born: that of unconditional love, meaning that, no matter what happens, he will always love this tiny human being, because she is part of him, she is his son’s daughter, his grandchild.
Two days after he sits on the couch and he’s very careful not to move. The baby is fast asleep on his chest; she is rocked by the beating of her grandfather’s heart, a heart so full of love and one that will, undoubtedly, cherish her every day of the life she is now beginning. Her grandfather will love her and take care of her, he will sit her on his knee and tell her stories, he will take her by the hand and show her the fantastic world out there, he will tell her how to walk and teach her not to fall; most of all he will be there to protect her and she will know this big strong man will always be there for her, no matter what.
After all, little baby, isn’t that what a grandfather is for?