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All In A Whisper

My First Grandson in A Plastic Bubble

My First Grandson in A Plastic Bubble

Meeting My Grandson

As I scrubbed my hands and forearms, and donned a gown and mask for my first meeting with my grandson, fear gripped me. When will we be sure he'll survive, and what other surprises are in store for us? He was a miracle... a three-pound living miracle. He took his first breath ten weeks earlier than expected, and at precisely the moment God had planned. His mother would spend most of her waking hours with him in what she knew as NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). She, like her two younger sisters had met the world when the world expected them, so this early addition was a new experience for all of us, and I wasn't handling it particularly well.

I had spent the last several years working long days and long weeks. Time-off was basically time away from the work premises. I was tied to night and weekend operations by a laptop computer and a wireless communication card. Vacations were always working-vacations, laptop and cell phone charged and turned on. I had been completely immersed in a career that, until the day I put on that hospital gown, had allowed me diminishing personal and family benefits.

Through the clear plastic case that would be his home for several weeks, I viewed in silent awe my first grandchild. Assisted in every breath since the first, he would leave the plastic case only in carefully timed and orchestrated bonding and feeding movements. As I looked on, his lip quivered with each draw of his lungs as if he were speaking to me in a whisper. Machines were set up to examine the rhythms of his breathing and heartbeat; and at every arrhythmia an alarm would sound to alert an attendant and also to startle the little one into a more uniform pattern. This tiniest of men was fighting a battle. He was in the fight of his life with the most fragile and immature lungs and heart as his defense.

Corona Del Mar Near The Tide Pools

Corona Del Mar Near The Tide Pools

What He Was Telling Me

The fear that had gripped me earlier slowly gave way to cautious confidence. I could see the determination in this young man, and I knew he would win his battle. I knew he must be destined for something extraordinary. I spent the rest of that night, and many nights thereafter, imagining what the little one may have been whispering to me through that quivering lip. I began to recognize my own vulnerability in a life anchored to a job and not to God.

Here was a very young man completely dependant on God's grace, and the medical team commissioned to help him. I surmised that, in a voice fresh and clean from God's presence and unsoiled by human influence, my grandson was reminding me, with each breath, how important it had suddenly become for me to be a "man of good character".

I have to study myself in a more honest light, and discard my self-built barriers against reaching for and valuing virtuous thought, action and social behavior. I must help this young man do the same early in life, because as humanity, modern society, and sometimes even family take their toll, a man naturally finds it easier (and often more appealing) to achieve only the acceptable standard... which is not always (or perhaps is rarely) the "right thing to do".

The Not-So-Little Guy

The Not-So-Little Guy


In the years since that night in the hospital room, I feel like I've accomplished little of what I had been commissioned to do. I've struggled (often miserably failing) in life, friendship, married life, fatherhood and grand-fatherhood. That littlest of young men is now a growing teenager with big feet, a big appetite and a changing voice. I've taken the commission seriously though, and I'll continue to strive for the goal. I search for the necessary strength outside of my weak self, and usually find it demonstrated by God in his Word. I also find strength demonstrated in other men's lives. I recognise them as the tallest, strongest and eventually the oldest trees in a forest overpopulated by "trees of low character". They're so much easier to spot now than they used to be. That is, since the night I first met my grandson.

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Sylvia Van Peebles from Southern California on July 22, 2011:

Beautiful hub! I can certainly relate to it!

Mr. Smith (author) from Indiana on December 27, 2010:

Thanks for reading, all of you. It was a huge time in my life. Now, at the end of 2010 he's nearly 4 yo, and has a second little sister on the way. He's little Mr. Bossy, and has no problem telling Grandma when Grandpa won't share the computer. It's all still hard to believe how God plans and does things. Happy New Year.

Susan Mills from Indiana on December 26, 2010:

This was beautiful, and well written. Thank you for sharing this amazing experience.

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on December 08, 2010:

Amazing how the birth of a baby can make us take a look at our own life. I know when I looked at my children and now as I look at my grandchildren I feel as though they hold all the secrets of the world in their eyes.

Beautifully written, it takes you right in as though you are sitting there looking at this newborn right alongside of you.

QudsiaP1 on November 30, 2010:

Beautifully written.

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