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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm a Grandpa!

First of all, allow me to introduce you all to my first grandchild, Nora Paige. Born at 1:43 PM, January 29, 2010. 7 lbs 9oz, 21 inches long. With lot's of dark hair. (Click on smaller photos to enlarge.)

That's her at about three hours old, wearing a cap to keep warm.

Good thing she had a cap because she was born on a very cold day. The temperature was in the upper teens on this eve of the first full moon of the year. Her mother was also born during a full moon. I'm no loony mystic, but I do know many veteran nurses who swear there are more baby's born during full moons.

I doubt it's statistically supported, I'm only saying that Nora and her Mom were born during a full moon, and when I stepped outside the building and saw that bright orb in the cold, clear sky, I remembered the night Em was born over twenty-five years ago.

Julie and I consider it one of the most bonding times of our lives. We were living in Iowa at the time so neither of our parents were present in the hospital. We kept them posted, of course, and they came out to visit immediately, but the day of the birth itself was pretty much the two of us with the help of the fine hospital staff. Keith and Em chose to do the same in their experience yesterday. The difference is, nowadays, there are cell phones and Facebook to keep all the family members up to the minute. It was great.

We all kept busy doing our normal routine, and passing progress reports along just as if we had been in a waiting room. Then after Nora was born, and Keith and Em had a few hours with their baby as a new family, they called us and we rushed up to see Nora--and Em and Keith, too... but mostly Nora. Keith's parents and brother and sister-in-law joined us a few minutes later. It was a wonderful gathering. Lots of pictures; lots of video; lots of Facebook photoalbums in the making. (If you happen to know them, you can see many more pictures there.) That's Julie to the right and I don't know who that guy in the beard is.

I hope you don't mind me rambling on in this post. The truth is, I don't "facebook" and photos display better on a blog when they are wrapped in text, so I'm just providing text. You don't have to read it.

Back when Emily was born, I did not have a lap-top.(No one I knew had any form of a personal computer back then.) But it will probably not surprise you that I had a journal and wrote on-the-spot, real-time, anecdotal reports of what was happening through the day.

Don't worry, I was also doing my main job as Julie's Lamaze coach. I was a very attentive father-to-be, but even during labor there are long periods of "down time," and I passed mine writing in the journal (sort of like I found myself doing yesterday as I was waiting for the phone call as a grandpa-to-be).

[That's me getting misty as I hold Nora for the first time.]

And I will say that my children have enjoyed reading that journal through the years. In fact, Emily brought it home from their house just a couple weeks ago. I didn't know she had it, but she and Keith wanted to read it to get an idea of what was in store. So I'm glad I had that journal on hand when Emily was born.

You may recall I told you about Nora coming several months ago, and since then it's been a joy to watch her grow. I can see Nora's "born" face in this ultrasound. It was fun watching her mommy grow, too.

(She's always been a slender girl, and not much changed over the nine months. Her tummy looked sort of like a cocoon on a stick.)

Keith has been working hard, too. He's been painting from the basement to the upstairs nursery, which by the way is adorable. The cradle that Em bought at an antique sale (and stored in our garage for two years) is now set up in the little nook off their living room, and there's a portable crib in their bedroom. they are ready to go!

Aunt Kim, there at the left, came home from college in Chicago Thursday night just in time to see her new niece the next day. We have a picture of Kim and Em holding their little sister Natalie back in 1995. It looks very much like this snapshot.

Speaking of Natalie, here she is with Nora. She is fourteen, and just after this picture was taken she had to leave to go play in a varsity girls basketball game after which she was a cheerleader during the boys varsity game. Keith and his brothers and sisters (Nora's other aunts and uncle) are good athletes, and Em and Kim and Natalie all play volleyball. (In fact, they all wore the same uniform in high school.) I like that Aunt Natalie is an athlete and a cheerleader and a piano player, and judging by Nora's graceful fingers, she may follow in her footsteps.

So there you have it. There's my little girl Emily holding her little girl Nora. It's been just two and a half years since she was getting dressed for her wedding day and she and her husband took those wonderful pictures along the shore of Lake Michigan.
I love milestone days like weddings, but there's nothing more beautiful than a new mom.

Keith and Em are off to a great start as parents. They know what commitment is beginning with each other. (They were high school sweethearts who continued dating as they went to college to become teachers.)

They know that Nora's security through the years will come not from being adored and doted on, not from being the center of a child-centered home, but from being loved and nurtured by the two parents whose love made the home in the first place. And if God grants Nora brothers and sisters, they will know the same love and security.

Changing the subject slightly to previous posts: For over a year, I have been writing about some land and the home my own childhood family settled back in the late Sixties and Seventies. That project is pretty much done. I do have an epilogue to write for those chapters, but that will be on hold for a while. By the way, it may seem like I write mostly about things long past, but if you know my current life, you will see that those "old stories" tie directly to the present. For instance, back in 2007 when I was writing about my own parents' first year of marriage in Bringing Home the Duncan Phyfe, those chapters were unfolding during my daughter's first year of marriage. There was a reason for that. I wanted Em to read it and to know that the life she and Keith had begun would not be perfect, but their experiences would draw them close and make the "for better or worse" part of their vows a stronger and stronger knot through time. Likewise, in Unsettled, when I write of my brother Jimmy being the one still at home when his siblings moved on, I am drawing parallels to my own Natalie, who is our caboose. In the concluding chapters of Unsettled, I have hinted at those intangible elements that gradually draw young people from the home they know to the home they hope to build--not from the ground up as my Dad did-- but from hand to hand and heart to heart as my parents also did, and as Julie and I and Keith's parents have tried to do for our children, and as Keith and Em will do for theirs.
Enjoy the photos and links. It may be a while before I resume writing, but I will resume in time. (I know because I've tried to quit before.)


Blogger Stephanie said...

I haven't read your blog for so long, but in three short sentences, I could hear your voice narrating this :) I have missed your writing. You also have me spilling my tears all over my keyboard, re-living those precious memories from April, when our little Ava Page joined the world and changed our family forever too. We're so happy for you guys, I know your heart is swelling. And how do I know that?? Because now I'm a parent too and it seems that perhaps I never gave my parents nearly enough credit for how overwhelming/incredible/life-changing/wonderful that role really is. It won't be long before Em is saying the same thing! All of our love to you!! Give Em a hug from me :) And that little Nora a big kiss! From one Page to another Paige, welcome to the world!!

30/1/10 1:23 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Your mother made her weekly call to Julie today. I love hearing those two visit. Your family has been a part of our for sooooo long. I have seen pictures of you Page. She is beautiful. We just got back from spending some time in the hospital with Em, Keith, and Nora. They are very very eager to get into their own house.
Thank you so much for coming by and for posting a comment.
Take care,

30/1/10 8:23 PM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

What a BEAUTIFUL baby! And I mean it! You are going to love your role as grandpa to lucky little Nora so fortunate to have been born into such a lovely family.

Thanks for giving us many glimpses (photos) of those first few hours of Nora's life as a newborn.

Congratulations to everyone especially the parents Em and Keith. By the way, our son-in-law is named Keith.

30/1/10 8:56 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Keith is a great son-in-law and already an attentive husband and father to these blessed girls.

We are enjoying it!

30/1/10 9:11 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Has it been that long since I have been reading your work Tom? I remember the lead up to Emily and Kieth's wedding the full story of the Duncan Phyfe and now that life which has been so well told has another chapter of spirit flesh and bone to be added to it for future generations to know from whom and where they came from.

Congratulations of the successful bringing in new beauty to the world Emily and Kieth, it is wonderful thing you have done in continuing the rounding of life's circle. Another lotus has blossomed above the fray to shine out color and beauty to this place and it is good.

And to grandma's and grandpa's all, may your experiences at this new role become ever more memorable as the days unwind.

Be Well

31/1/10 7:48 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

You are a gifted blogger-friend. Beautifully put. Thanks for sharing. I'll pass it along.

31/1/10 10:36 AM  
Blogger Tracie said...

Hi Tom! Nora is absolutely gorgeous! And all that hair! Great pictures. Emily just glows in her photo holding Nora. I went back and looked at the video of her getting ready for marriage. Seems like just yesterday.

It has been a long time...I come over here from time to time to read your stories but I find myself in the chaos of long days with growing boys alot lately. I am trying hard to get back to my normal blogging but it's tough sometimes as you know.

Will continue to check here for updates. You have a lot to do with being a grandpa so enjoy this time with Julie.

God Bless!

31/1/10 1:29 PM  
Blogger Leslie: said...

BIG HI, Tom! It seems like only yesterday that they were getting married...I do remember reading all the news of that wonderful time of their (and your) life! Please convey my congratulations to everyone and welcome to baby Nora! She is adorable!

You may not know, but my big news is that I'm getting married in September. I reconnected with my former fiance (we'd been engaged but drifted apart back in the early 70's) and we realized that we still (or maybe it's again) love each other - even more now that we're mature (sort of! LOL) The story is on my blog starting around November of 2008.

I'm going to "follow" your blog so I can keep up with your news. Feel free to do the same with mine. I've missed your writing - and I remember to tale of the Duncan Phyfe because I still have my grandmother's DP drop-leaf table.

31/1/10 3:20 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I know what you mean. I can hardly believe it's been over two years. Something tells me the next two will go even faster.

I'll bet you guys are getting excited about the Olympics. Congratulations on reconnecting with your fiance. Love is like that sometimes. You may recall that my Mom, as a widow, met an old friend from highschool at her 50th HS Reunion and they later married.

I'm so glad to hear that the Duncan Phyfe story had meaning beyond our own family.

31/1/10 5:04 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Tom, thank you for popping over to my blog and letting me know the good news. Nora is absolutely exquisite. In fact, she is probably the prettiest baby I have ever seen! She looks just like her momma, doesn't she?

I remember when you posted about your daughter getting married, and I remember what a gorgeous bride she was, and now here she is with her own little girl.

I agree, by the way, that giving birth is a very private thing between the husband and wife, and I don't much care for the practive of other family members being there. When my daughter gave birth to both her children, only she and her husband were there, and that is how it should be. I'm glad your daughter and her husband chose that too. It's a very personal, bonding experience between a man and a woman. There is plenty of time later for the rest of us to meet the new little addition.

Congratulations to you and your family.


31/1/10 5:36 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, they are both beautiful. They are home now, all settled in. I held her for a while and she just kept looking up at me with her wide-open eyes. She seemed to be studying my face. I know they say that babies can't see for a while, but she seemed to be "seeing." Anyway it felt good to think so.

It was their choice to enjoy the experience as a couple, and that has seemed to work out very well. Like you said, lots of time for everyone else to become a part of the picture. That was their experience.

31/1/10 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats, gramps! She's an angel. You and Julie will be a wonderful grandparents just like you were great parents to your three girls.
Julie looks less like a grnadma than you do a grandpa. Ha Ha just kidding.

31/1/10 8:31 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for the complement on our girls. Nora has wonderful aunts on both sides of her family. As for me looking like a grandpa. I know it's true. Julie must sip from the fountain of youth. She was 25 when she had Emily 25 years ago. That makes Nora zero. Emily 25, and Julie..HMMMMMMMmmmmm... I'm just thankful my hair turned gray and not loose. =)

31/1/10 10:11 PM  
Blogger heiresschild said...

CONGRATULATIONS Tom to you and your whole family. EXCITING! thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and reminisces. since i don't smoke, this was much better than a cigar. lol!

1/2/10 12:57 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

THanks for stopping by. I don't smoke eithter but I do know the feeling of wanting to pass out cigars. Actually, Julie and I were passing out "laughy taffy" on Friday. =)

1/2/10 6:51 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

It has been a looooooooong time and what a pleasant surprise to learn that you're a grandpa now! Your sweet little Nora shares a birthday with my son, Jackson, and a middle name with my daugher, Carli - too cool! She's gorgeous - enjoy!!!

Julie in Colorado

1/2/10 4:00 PM  
Blogger Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Once again, congratulations to you and your family on this happy occasion of Nora's birth. Those were great photos. You have a beautiful family. Truly. Even that bearded guy's quite sharp. ;)

2/2/10 3:38 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Julie in CO,
I know you know the meaning and miracle of this moment for Emily. Thanks for sharing about your son's birthday and daughter's middle name. I plan to print these comments out and share them with Nora someday.

You made my day! I know Nora and all the ladies are beautiful, but it was nice to hear that "even that bearded guy" looks worthy to be in their company. =)

2/2/10 5:04 AM  
Blogger Cris said...

Congratulations Tom! She is beautiful!

2/2/10 11:21 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks, Chris,
She is, and her Mom and Dad are getting into the rhythm of days and nights with her, too. Life's good!

2/2/10 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been "awol" on reading the blogs lately so here I am and the newest member of the family is nearly a week old. She's gorgeous and NOW I'd expect you know what the rest of us grandparents mean when we say "there's nothing like it!" The baby's mommy looks so young! But I do too when I look at photo's of me with my 1st born. She's 42 now and I really can't believe I'm old enough to be her mom!!! Anyway thanks for the "heads up" and all the pictures. Congratulations to ALL of you! Many blessings are in store! I do wish you were on Facebook...it really is fun to connect with friends and family on it! Maybe...one of these days!!!! :-) WSL

2/2/10 11:17 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Wisconsin Sandwich Lady. (I just had to say that since it is the strangest nickname with a funny story.) I do my facebooking through Julie who really enjoys it. I know I would, too, but I think it would be the end of POI if I got started on Facebook. Maybe not but one of the two accounts would get cob webby from neglect. It's nice to hear such nice things about begin grandparents from one who knows.

3/2/10 1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been called many things....AND weird does happen to be one of them LOL. I "had to" differentiate myself from the other anonymous people that comment on here so it kind of made sense back then to become WSL!!!

Isn't it strange too, how people sort of become "friends" and have never met....through blogging and commenting?? Well keep on with what you're doing and perhaps one day you'll reconsider and become one of us on FB. My husband even succombed which was "really" something as he kept saying "I don't have time!".


3/2/10 1:15 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Maybe someday. I do see the advantages of it, but for now I'll just keep blogging. =)

3/2/10 4:45 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Can you believe I missed this? I knew it was close to the time and I've thought about you and this event many times in the last few months. I'm sorry I'm late but delighted to have the chance to catch up. I must admit I was misty eyed as I read your post about Nora, your precious granddaughter. I can just feel the love through the words that you have written and I love the glimpse of the past when your daughter was born. This is truly a blessing indeed and I enjoyed reading every single word! Blessings to you my friend. I hope to keep up better and maybe even blog a little at some point. CONGRATULATIONS!

10/3/10 8:23 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Better late than never. I was late in seeing this so don't feel bad.
It has been a blessing to have this new connection with Keith and Em. It seems a bit like the second play of an eight-track tape or a re-run of sorts, but it is a very pleasant movie to watch again.

3/4/10 12:31 PM  

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