On the Corner
Tristan Robert Jennings joins the family
by Robert Docter, Editor-In-Chief –
While neither your gorgeous and gracious grandmother nor I were present at the exact moment of your birth, your mother and two of your half dozen aunts tell me you let your presence be known right from the start. Great testimony with an “open air” voice.
Looking down at your bright red face and wide-open mouth I immediately thought—yeah…he’ll fit right in with his three brothers and 11 cousins. He knows where the food is and how to get it.
So—welcome Tristan to your extended family.
We got to see you about five minutes after you arrived. It was an exciting, emotion-filled night—that last April 9th. Those ministering to you a little after 9:00 p.m. had finished their inspection tasks, wrapped you tightly in a cuddly blanket and gave you back to the one who gave you birth. You latched on to her breast immediately and the sound of your ferocious sucking brought smiles to the room.
You are a real guzzler, but soon your grandmother took a turn holding you—something she had anxiously anticipated for the last several months. Deprived of your nutrients and the warmth, smell and touch of your mother, you began to communicate your displeasure pointedly. You quieted quickly, however, sensing her warmth and love. Nevertheless, mothers are sometimes absolute necessities.
My turn came a day or so later. I held you in my arms—a fidgety, kicking, screaming, attention getting bundle of warmth. You were only a few days old, but already, you sensed that these arms were new to you. I thought I saw a wrinkled brow and a question on your face.
I stood and rocked you in my arms—holding you close—feeling your life expressed in your movement—sensing the power of your heart, beating steadily within your tiny chest.
I looked down into wide-open eyes and bonded. As we walked about the house, I sang a simple, homemade song with a lyric my father had sung to me. “Oh my Tristan, you are a hobo—Oh my Tristan, you are a wonder…”
Suddenly, you stopped crying. It must have been the melifluous tones of my sweet sounding voice, soothing your mood with honeyed croaks. I’m sure of it. What else could it be? Certainly not the lyrics.
So, Tristan, you have already made an impact on the family. Your mother describes you as “a very good baby.” You’re part of a large extended family. Part of them live in a far off land on a tiny island with a powerful self-image. They live in Wales and pray that you will have a rich and powerful singing voice. Then again, it might simply match your father’s. Other members of that family live close to where you live in southern California. You’ll see them every day. Your cousins all tend to like each other. It’s amazing that they all get along so well. But it’s true. They’re all great kids, and I’m sure you’ll find an important place in their hearts and in their lives. Simultaneously, they are all very much alike and also very different in many ways.
I’m your grandpa. We share a name. That touches me deeply and pleases me even more.
Your grandma helped raise the 14 grandchildren with whom we are so abundantly blessed and to whom you are now closely related. Now, you are added to the mix—10 boys and five girls—spanning an entire generation.
You are already experiencing your world. All of your sensory receptors are active and your voice indicates powerful lungs. You make your needs known in a profound manner, and I suspect that you will stand up for your rights—especially with your brothers and cousins.
There’s a lot out there in this world to experience. As you discover it you will gradually build your own backlog of history to allow you to make sense of it. Learn about this small planet and how important it is.
You will learn that some experiences aren’t beneficial to you at all.
I hope you will experience these negative learnings vicariously. You don’t have to experiment with everything first hand if it is evident from the experience of others that its product diminishes potential.
You will also experience some challenging events that frighten you. Many of these can be very helpful.
Take the risk of growth from every experience.
Gradually, with the help of your parents, you will discover that our culture has determined some actions to be “right” and some “wrong.”
Remember, part of you is spiritual.
Allow your spiritual part to connect with God. God’s worth knowing.
You have great families—a wonderful mom whose every minute focuses on her family’s well being; a dad who’s a terrific person—really fun, achieves his goals, speaks softly with power, and works hard for his family. Your three brothers, Griffith, Owen and Morgan, are great guys. They will show you much about life. And don’t forget the extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They’re all different. They all change as they grow. So will you.
Remember, your grandpa loves you very much—already, and your grandma is among the most magnificent, sacrificing, caring and protective people you will ever know.
Have a great life, Tristan Robert Jennings. You are greatly loved.