The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Grandad

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A little over 4½ years ago my stepdaughter, Layla, asked me if I would prefer to be called Grandpa or Grandad.

I was 37.

There are times when it’s felt like the fates are reminding me of my mortality (see Grandad’s Muesli), however I’ve been steadily coming to terms with it.

A little over 3 years ago my granddaughter gained a baby brother, thereby sealing my position in an elder generation. No longer could I just pretend it was some kind of anomaly, I was going to have to properly embrace this idea.

It’s certainly helped that cards to Grandad on Father’s day have been known to bring a tear to my eye. And when we go to visit, having grandchildren fling their arms around you and cover you in snot is quite endearing, especially when you aren’t the one responsible for cleaning them up.

And now, sometime around the beginning of December, a new individual will be joining the clan; Layla is with child again.



Now I know to everyone else this is just a series of dots that resemble a Rorschach Inkblot Test than a grandchild, but to me it is something truly magical.

The swollen belly, the life within; it is a thing of pure beauty and taps into something deeply primal.

I am not a religious man: I have no belief in god(s) creating the universe and responding to prayers. But I have never understood why a Supreme Being in any religion could possibly be represented as male. The only reason I have ever been able to come up with is it must have given a bunch of disgruntled blokes something to feel important about.

But then I’ve never really understood men (or women) who abandon responsibility for their children, nor abortion except for the most extreme circumstances, either.

Tell a lie, I do understand why these things happen, but to me it’s infinitely sad that one of the most precious, miraculous things in the universe can be rejected.

Perhaps it’s because my mother told me the doctor recommended she should have aborted my younger sister; perhaps it’s because the majority of people and the medical establishment expected we should have aborted my daughter; perhaps as I get older, and my own sense of mortality grows, these feelings just embed themselves far more deeply.

Whichever, while I have to respect the right of a woman to choose, I so deeply wish more education and support for the choice to keep life was more prevalent.

When we have truly seen, felt and experienced the incredibleness of new life, we know it should never be taken away unless the alternatives are really too awful to contemplate.

However, this is a time when that debate is unnecessary. In a few months time I’m going to be a grandfather to a child who is already loved.

I just hope Layla’s going to be able to keep her cravings for sandstone at bay this time.
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25 comments

Brave Astronaut said...

Congratulations Pops, Gramps, whatever moniker you wish. Soon you'll be out yelling at kids to get off your lawn . . .

My father's grandchildren (including my son) call my father "Grandpomme" which is fitting given his French heritage and that he lives in New York, aka the "Big Apple."

Sayre said...

Your grandbaby looks like it's blowing bubbles!!! Congratulations, Kim!

We had faced that as well. I became a first time mother at age 37. Because I'd had so many miscarriages previously, the doctor was not at all sure that there wouldn't be problems with this baby. We did the amnio and before hand we had to fill out a questionnaire about our feelings on terminating the baby if the results weren't good. The answer was "no way." Not unless it was something so horrific that it would not survive to the end of the pregnancy or live outside the womb. Anything else we could deal with. I had it so I could be prepared, not so I could do away with it. As things turned out, my son was born absolutely perfect. But I'd have loved him just as much had he not.

Tom said...

Excellent news, Kim. A very big congrats!

There's so much in this post that I want to write about but I think it lends itself best to a discussion over a pint someday. Until then, enjoy being a Grandad... again.

C in DC said...

Congratulations on being Grandad x3.

That's a great ultrasound picture! You can really see the baby's profile well.

Kim Ayres said...

Brave Astronaut - I don't have a pipe, and I never wear my slippers, but I do have an old cardigan full of holes, which I mooch about in sometimes

Sayre - the continual miscarriages must have been really hard to live with. How great ZBoy finally arrived on the scene for you :)

Tom - I look forward to the days we can have all these discussions :)

C in DC - I thought it was a grandson to be proud of, but Maggie reckons it just a leg...

PI said...

Congrats! I must admit you are a bit young - but wise beyond your years and will make a super Grandad. I wonder what was the trigger - we have 2 great grandchildren also expected in December. Was there a power cut?

savannah said...

how absolutely lovely for all y'all, sugar! you on #3, we're still mooning & fawning over/sending silly gifts to ghost face killah as our only "granddoggie" xoxoxox ;-)

congratulations to all!

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Congratulations! That's awesome :)

Jessie said...

Congratulations from me too - I love your blog - have been eavesdropping for awhile now - my dad is called Grandad for our crew...I love the title of grandad.

btw...one of my favorite Biblical descriptions of Christ is when he says he longs to gather his people "as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing"...just shows he's got that maternal instinct too - but that's a different subject entirely isn't it! :o)

yay for the gift of life in babies all around.

MaLady said...

congratulations!

I'm with you on this - life is a spectacular miracle, convenient or not.

The scripture about Jesus in the beginning of John that says "Through him all things were made" is what comes to mind...

"Pompa" has to be my favorite toddler-created version I've ever heard.

debra said...

Best wishes to you and your family, Kim.

Sini said...

Congratulations, Kim.. !

Eryl Shields said...

Layla (cool name!) was very generous in giving you the choice. I just referred to my father-in-law as Grandpa to my son, though he changed it himself, through 'gumpa'to 'gradipops' when he was small.

Congratulations, you're evidently thrilled to be a grandparent whatever you get called.

Layla said...

Hi Kim
That was a lovely post. Poppy saw the scan picture on the screen and she shouted 'Good Grandad!'
The sandstone situation is not good. James dug up loads in the garden and I couldn't resist a wee nibble!
Layla x

Annie's Porch said...

Beautiful Kim. Brought a tear to my eye. Just lovely what you wrote.

Conan Drumm said...

Great news, but where's the little one's sunglasses and Matrix coat?

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - Spring sap rising I would expect...

Savannah - thank you :)

FLG - thanks :)

Jessie - welcome to my ramblings anf thanks for taking the time to de-lurk

MaLady - Pompa has a definite rhythmic appeal :)

Debra - thank you :)

Sini - thanks :)

Eryl - so have you decided on what you'd be called should Bob decide to create a new generation?

Layla - Make sure you give Poppy & Sean a squeezy hug from me :) x

Annie - thank you :)

Conan Drum - hmmm, now there's a thought...

Sandy said...

You know Kim, sometimes life seems to shout at you louder than is completely necessary. I was in touch with somebody else earlier today who was a grandperson and younger than me and here yourself a grandparent in you youthfulness on the same day. Heaven forbid, but not yet for me please as my oldest is still only 17.
Anyway, congrats old un,
Sandy

Freakazojd said...

Congratulations to all of you, that's exciting news! I read the first bit to my husband who said "That's how old I am now!" Seems like light-years away for us, having just had #1. :) Love the photo of the ultrasound.

Mary Witzl said...

Congratulations, and isn't it just the most wonderful feeling?

And wow: you were a grandpa before I was a mother -- what a sobering thought, and doesn't that make me feel damn old!

MizFit said...

CONGRATS!!!
and kudos for writing about a topic which people are so polarized on so eloquently.

MizFit

problemchildbride said...

Lovely news, Kim! Congratulations!

Sandstone? Does the poor woman have any teeth left to get through another pregnancy?

Kim Ayres said...

Sandy - 17? You could be a grandad thrice over already :)

Freakazojd - and what a cutie your #1 is too :)

Mary - so have you decided whether you'll be grandma, granny, nana or any other derivative?

Mizfit - welcome over to my ramblings and thanks for the supportive words :)

Sam - I know, generally things like coal and pickle are bad enough, but the sandstone has been known to take a dental toll

Nicole said...

Congrats! I think I see your beard on that ultra sound. ;) I bet your family get-togethers are lively.

Kim Ayres said...

Layla seems to think it's more likely to be a girl as the sandstone cravings are stronger :}

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