Thursday, August 16, 2007

A cynic goes soft

You reach a certain age and you are entitled to be a little world weary. You've seen it, you've been there, you've felt that feeling - whether the world seems wicked or enchanted, nothing really takes you by surprise. And then, if you're lucky, something comes out of the blue and peels back your well-developed shell and you fill your lungs with fresh air. For some people that something is a new lover or a change of career or a trip to the south of France. For me, that something out of the blue is a grandson.

(Yes, I know, I look far too young to have a grandchild, and yes, I must have gotten married when I was 13, and I appreciate the sentiment but try to make the line delivery a little more sincere, ok?)

I was wholly unprepared for the emotional kick that this little kid would have on me. The best description is that of flipping a switch - that kid turned on a circuit inside me that I didn't even know was wired. It's an entirely different switch than the one that was flipped when our kids were born, so different it's hard to nail down. Is it a "survival-of-the-fittest" based sense of pride? A beating-on-the-chest, "see how our line prospers" emotion? Is it a reflected fond memory of those early baby-raising days with our own kids, amplified by an older, more sentimental nature? Or does having a grandchild rekindle a (dare I say it) feeling of hope for the future? (There it goes, half a lifetime devoted to the pursuit of pure cynicism, out the window.)

All I know for sure is this: never again will I make fun of those people with the bumpersticker that says "Ask me about my grandchildren!" I get where they're coming from now.

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