Endless Possibilities


A new year welcomes a new life.

Holding her granddaughter on this first Christmas, she looks down into clear blue eyes of endless possibilities and can’t help but smile. After all, this is her first grandbaby.

The baby gazes up, smiles, and grasps one of her fingers with an entire hand. In an instant, the burden of self-doubt and questioning if she had raised her children “the right way” finally falls away … falls away forever.

Her choices, both good and bad, had led her to this point in life and were now firmly in the distant past. To change one thing would change everything, and she wouldn’t change anything. As if on cue, the infant offers up a coo wrapped around a smile as she tightens the grip on her finger. The new grandmother smiles back knowing what all parents and grandparents realize.

She holds the future in her arms.

Now nearing retirement, she’s decided to move across the country just to be near and do it all again – the most important job in the world. Helping to raise a child. As the infant falls asleep, she totally relaxes in her arms, knowing that she’s safe.

The new grandparent also relaxes.

Looking down at the angelic face, she instantly travels back to a different place and time. A time when she last held her own small one — the first of two. It seems both a lifetime ago and just yesterday.

Then, so young and fearful of all the unknowns of parenting, she couldn’t have imagined how her life was going to change. Looking back, she now knows. Looking forward, she welcomes with open arms the coming changes grandparenting will bring.

Tears of joy slowly make their way down her cheeks, as she smiles.

A tear lands on the child causing it to stir. Carefully drying the heavenly face, the grandmother swaddles the infant – instinctively reciting an incomplete made-up lullaby she hummed to her own children so long ago. Perhaps, she muses, this time around I’ll finish and find an ending.

Swaying back and forth in the rocking chair, the unfinished lullaby turns into a slow, quiet version of You Are My Sunshine — the nursery is decorated around that theme. The infant settles back to sleep.

The grandmother’s mind drifts back to the past once again.

She had given her two children all the time and attention she possibly could while they were growing up. But like most working parents, she would say it felt as if it were never enough. Splitting time between being a wife, a budding career, and parenting — there never seemed to be enough of her to go around. Never enough time with her precious little ones. But now, all that is about to change.

With the stresses of working almost gone, she will soon have the rarest of all resources at her disposal — a resource she didn’t have when she was younger. A resource she can afford to give freely to the little one asleep in her arms.


This is my first column of the new year, but it’s not the original one I was writing. I’d almost finished the first version when I was sent a picture from the lady above holding her granddaughter. She had traveled across the country to be here for her first Christmas. From the expression on the new grandmothers’ face and drawing upon my own feelings when I held our Little One for the first time, it was obvious what I had to write.

In this new year, The Wife and I wish you the same feeling of joy and peace that comes from looking down at a sleeping infant held safely in your arms. I’m happy to say I’m good friends with one new grandmother that already has.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories weekly in The Citizen since 2001.]