Year’s worth of lifetime memories

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2014

“If we had known that grandchildren would be this much fun, we would have had them first.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that saying, I’d be a millionaire. Instead, I’m a poor believer.

This week – Wednesday, Nov. 19 to be exact – my grandson celebrates his first birthday. There will be a party on Saturday (Nov. 22) in Colerain to formally mark this momentous occasion. But one day cannot begin to summarize the joys of being a grandfather.

My world was complete over 29 years ago when my daughter, Danielle Rae Bryant, took her first breath at around 2:30 a.m. on July 21, 1985. Watching her grow and mature into a beautiful creature, inside and out, was a wonderful journey – full of love and, of course, a few tears along the way (especially the teenage years).

But all that pales in comparison when you see your flesh and blood give life of her own. I stood in awe on the morning of Nov. 19, 2013 when Danielle fought through the pain of childbirth and delivered Brody Ray Harrell, a six-pound, 15-ounce bundle of pure joy.

Holding that fragile body in my arms for the first time brought a lump to my throat. Later, seeing his first smile, hearing his first laugh, and listening to the innocent sounds of his first words (no matter if you could understand them or not) made it hard to swallow once again.

That’s the joy of being a grandparent….a chance to relive the days of raising a child that is solely dependant on what you can provide. I remember how my mother and father, as well as Louis and Mamie Vann (my wife’s parents), treated Danielle. They spoiled her rotten, and then handed her back to Deborah and I to suffer through the consequences.

Now it’s my turn; although I wish my parents and parents in-law were still here to enjoy this all over again.

Since earlier this year, Brody has been a frequent guest to sleep over at Papa’s and Nana’s house. As we did 29 years ago, we’ve watched as our “child” has gone from being a lap baby, to cutting teeth (he now has a mouthful of choppers), to crawling all over the house (and me!), to eating “off the table” (that boy can put away some creamed ‘taters!) to now taking his first steps. In Brody’s case, the latter stage of development went from crawling to running!

We’ve witnessed his interest in certain cartoons….Mickey Mouse and Peppa Pig appear to be his favorites. We are attentive to another of his favorite things to do as he will find one of his baby books and hand it to you to read. He appears to be hanging on each and every word. That’s great to see on two accords….he’s attempting to learn words through repetition and he seemingly loves books, a trait I hope continues as he develops educationally.

Now, I want to see him run to my chair, leap into my lap, and call me by name.

Now, I want him to beg for a bowl of ice cream.

Now, I want him to learn about life by asking questions. If the answers are not to his satisfaction, I want to see him further develop by asking enough questions to the point where what he is seeking to learn will be discovered.

Now, I want him to learn how to respect his parents, all family members, and the world around him, to include the environment and our abundance of natural resources.

Perhaps you’re thinking I’m getting way ahead of myself as Brody is only one-year-old. But if the next 12 months go by as fast and are packed with growth as the first year, I’ll need to stay ahead of the game just to keep pace.

Happy Birthday, Brody Ray…Papa loves you!

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.        

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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