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The Next Chapter…and it’ll be grand.

September 6th, 2010

When we left off last summer, we thought we had concluded a madcap adventure of a lifetime — an 18-day RV trip across Europe with our daughter, Cassie and for the second half, her fiance, Kurt.  We were ticketed by German police, formed international friendships at a Munich beer garden, got lost in Poland, were burglarized in Slovakia, watched our daughter accept a marriage proposal in Vienna, encountered the Tour de France in, well France, and made it safely back to Cassie and Kurt’s apartment in downtown Antwerp. Back home in Las Vegas was our son, Paul, and his wife, Sarah, who we see regularly. We were a tidy family of six, even if separated by the Atlantic. We couldn’t have imagined a a more-full life.

What a difference a year makes…

Paul and Sarah are now the parents of perhaps the most beautiful baby in the world, Kieran. Paul meeting Kieran within 20 minutes of his birth on June 29, 2010. I say perhaps because there’s another baby on the way.  Cassie’s is due any day.

I think our future is going to be a lot crazier than any zany RV trip through Europe with a GPS system that confused wheat fields for freeways.

This, because there is sibling rivalry in the Gorman family, and our Cassie and her Kurt have a tough act to follow in Kieran, our first grandson by three months. “Geez, their kid is really cute,” Cassie says, sounding like she’s sizing up a prize fighter and not sure how this little contest is going to end up. “I mean, Kieran is really cute.” It’s game time, folks. The bell just rang, Round One.

And Jeanne and I are caught in the middle like some overwhelmed, inexperienced referee in a championship prize fight. Kieran is awesome, weighing in at six pounds, four ounces. Cassie and Kurt’s little boy is bound to be beautiful, too. And us? We can’t play favorites. We’re wearing white shirts with bow ties that suggest neutrality.

And that’s been the story of our lives, trying to raise a boy and a girl separated by five years and not trying to favor one over the other. They didn’t have to have the same toys but every Christmas, you could count on Jeanne getting out the adding machine and making sure that we spent an equal amount of money on each.

KieranFact is, Paul and Cassie had very little in common — except for their parents. They had different academic goals, different sports goals, different life style goals.First family photo And now Jeanne and I are going to watch them become parents. This ought to be a hoot. I’ll be taking notes. We’re going to watch how Paul and Sarah raise their child, and we’re going to watch how Cassie and Kurt raise their child, and all the while, we’re going to remember how we raised Paul and Cassie.

As I write this, Paul and Sarah’s two-month-old is asleep in our guest room. We’re babysitting him for the night and I just gave him his 11 p.m. bottle. Tonight, for the first time, our eyes connected and he offered me a smile. I melted.

In three days we head to Antwerp, where Cassie and Kurt have lived for several years and where she will be delivering her little boCassie and Kurt, vacationing in Tenerife.y in mid-September. We’ll be spending a month in Antwerp — a couple of weeks ahead of the due date and then two weeks after our second grandson is born. Jeanne will stay a third week. Cassie would just assume that Jeanne spend a few years over there. Funny how, when our kids have their own little children on the way, they suddenly appreciate the parents that we were.

Yes, we have a few thoughts about raising children. We did okay by Paul and Cassie. They are mostly intact and functional. And we too survived mostly intact after having raised them.

Now it’s payback time. We get to be grandparents. Our friends have told us this can be the best days of our lives, holding Cassie at home in Antwerpthe little babies and then excusing ourselves and going home the minute the babies get fussy. Heh heh heh. That’s the easy part.

The hard part will be to not play favorites. So while Cassie’s child hasn’t shown himself yet, we know that there will be no baby more beautiful than him.  Yeah, I’ve given it some thought and I think that’s how I’ll word it: There is no baby more beautiful than yours. I’ll tell that to Paul and Sarah’s child, and to Cassie and Kurt’s child.

Stay tuned. This grandparenting thing might get interesting.

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