A little while ago I stumbled across a picture of my father holding my infant son Ben.
It was taken 27 years ago, and showed up just in time to be framed next to one taken six days ago, showing me holding Ben's infant daughter, my grandchild.
Babies are having babies. Yes, we're creating generations in my tribe.
Darn cute ones, too.
I know you're wondering: Alice Audrey. Seven pounds, six ounces. Twenty inches. She joined us about 9:20 a.m. Monday in Salt Lake City, ably assisted by her two very hard-working parents, Ben and Crystal, while a gaggle of bleary-eyed grandmothers and grandfathers, uncles and aunts held their breaths.
Perfect child. Ten each, fingers and toes. All functions normal. Mother and daughter are fine as frog's hair.
It was a ride, and they should have been tired, but mom and dad got no sleep the next night either.
The baby cried, sure, but mostly they had to get up every 20 minutes and make sure Alice really was there, really was real.
"We made this!" they kept saying.
Ben's mom is in permanent grin mode. Every time I think of that wrinkled, fuzzy, scrunched up and tiny pink person, I am just amazed.
Interesting name, Alice Audrey. Like the photographs, very generational.
Alice comes from the "Alice in Wonderland" books. Ben was read those by his father because I was read those by my father. Yes, both of my sons have copies to read to their children.
Audrey is Ben's maternal grandmother, who Ben appreciates as the model for the strong women who hold our family together. Crystal, an amazing woman herself, lacks a living grandmother of her own, so has adopted and honors her husband's.
It is mind boggling to gaze at this small person and know she will have a whole life of joys and sorrows, loves and losses, adventures and pains.
No way around it. I know her mom and dad will try to protect her. I also know they will, mostly, fail.
I couldn't protect my boys, and now I get to go through it all again, too, and Alice is just the first.
I know Alice's dad is pondering these things.
After she was born, and cleaned up, and given to her mom, and Ben had stared at his daughter for awhile, he and I sat in the hallway. He was red-eyed and sagging from a sleepless night coaching his wife through the process.
"And now I get to take care of Alice for the rest of her life," he said.
Well, I said, the next 20 years or so.
I didn't mention that, at age 15 or thereabouts, despite all he does, she'll probably tell him she hates him and describe how he ruined her life.
Or that he'll go nuts when she discovers dating, learns to drive, moves out, or even just pedals down the block on a bicycle.
It is the lot of parents to send their babies into the world and hope the world is kind to them. If anyone can steer Alice into that maw, it is her parents.
I'd like to claim I taught her father, but parenthood for me has been a combination of prayer, following advice and holding on for dear life. I had hopes, but honestly no idea how things would turn out.
Monday morning I found out. Alice wiggled and squirmed and I held her while someone took our picture.