Family bonds grow ever grander with every visit


It’s going to be raining babies this year for our family.

On the other side of Oregon, we have MoMama busily growing twins — we knew this. I’ll let you in on the latest: There’s a brother and sister on the train to the station. Alistair and Cyra (pronounced “sigh-ra,” like the sound of wind moving through the trees. A breeze in Paris on a spring evening, if you want to be detailed. Basically, the sound of love), middle names not completely decided, although I am campaigning hard for “Cyra Willow.” They are expected to be ready to see the world in another three months, and the excitement ramps up daily. We’re beginning the “obsessive examination of sonograms for family features” phase.

Just before Christmas we got unexpected news: Camo Man’s youngest son, Tech Boy, and his wife called to say the impossible has happened, and their family is set to grow.

The couple had about given up after the birth of their daughter more than six years ago. Not right away, of course. Since Mighty Miss M began life with no special effort on the part of her parents, it was easy to assume it would always be that way.

“We weren’t worried,” my daughter-in-law said. “We figured it would take some time.”

They didn’t reckon on five-plus years.

Eventually the couple believed it would never happen, as months ticked by. Indeed, tests indicated they’d just plain lucked out with Mighty Miss M, our family’s little fireball.

Can you imagine, then, how magical Christmas was when it was discovered the long-requested gift from Santa will be delivered in August? It might seem a little early to be sounding trumpets, but it’s too good not to share. Camo Man told me when we met that he has seven grandchildren and did not expect there to be more. This is going to be fun to watch.

I’ve already gotten a delicious taste of how my guy loves babies. To see him with grandboy Malcolm is to see the definition of “grandfather” written in human.

Also long-awaited, that pregnancy was finally confirmed for my eldest daughter and her husband just as Camo Man and I were just starting to court. He arrived at my house soon after I got the news and we hugged as a rocket of happiness went up in the sky to shower the universe with unicorns and fairy glitter.

A year later, Malcolm was, arguably, the most-adored guest at our wedding, a 3-month-old with dazzling blue eyes. And already the apple of his new Grampa’s eye.

As our grandson nears 2 years old, that love has only deepened. I expected to have the Grammie high, of course. I’ve been excited about grandparenting for the better part of the last decade. Macadoodle doesn’t know or care about that, the little monkey. Grampa is all that matters.

On a recent visit, we landed in Northeast Portland in the evening. MoMama and MacDaddy were scurrying to finish picking up for our arrival and our boy was safely gated inside his well-appointed playroom. You know what “well-appointed” stands for, right? I don’t need to spell out S-P-O-I-L-E-D.

Because he’s not — and that’s not just the Grammie in me talking. But there are a LOT of toys and activities at his tiny fingertips. Not one holds a candle to Grampa, however.

We walked into the playroom that night, where Mac treated us to a show. First his eyes — still a startling blue — opened in total surprise, then that magical giggle erupted. In the next second, his feet pounded up and down in a rhythm of sheer happiness. Up he jumped and made a beeline for his favorite toy of all, the guy of arm swings, shoulder rides and that finger-in-the-cheek popping thing.

Man and boy were inseparable once again. The whole visit.

I asked my husband once, “How is it, with seven grandchildren already, Macadoodle can be so special to you?”

He thought for only a minute. “Because I’m Grampa for him. I’m the only one he knows. There’s no comparison to anyone else.”

He’s the only man I’ve grandparented with, as well. I’m finding it to be a wonderful adventure. We don’t always see eye-to-eye on the day-in, day-out task of raising teens (hardest job on the planet, not gonna lie), but the grandchild thing is nothing but bliss. And Mac’s parents are seriously considering letting us have the little big brother for a solo visit in May. We’re already imagining him gobbling up breakfast at our favorite spot and camping with us at Junior Show. “Giddy” describes our excitement best.

Three more — at least! — tiny humans are on their way to this lovefest. We’ll be hopeless. There will be galleries of baby pictures on our fridge. All our date money will be spent on toys, books and impossibly tiny shirts.

We don’t care. We’ll immerse ourselves. This is one rain that needs no umbrella, Mac has taught us that.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at 509-526-8322 or


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