Grandpa’s (maybe) wise words

Dear Kianna: Hi. This is Grandpa. That’s you up there.

Message to Kianna #1 …

You’ve been on my mind all day, little Kianna. I’m really nervous, to tell you the truth, thinking about what to tell you first. I mean, do I start by outlining the mysteries of life, like how many more millions of years will the Perseid meteors shoot across the sky? Or why is it that in Columbia, a city that calls itself progressive and academic, motorists here just can’t grasp the basic tenets of roundabout etiquette?

Tonight I watched the end of the Sugar Bowl after catching a super episode of “Parenthood,” glancing at the slide show on the digital photo frame that was intended as a Christmas gift for your great-great-Grandma Nola. And there you are in that sonogram that your beautiful mom showed off at the “reveal” party when she and your daddy announced that you were a girl.

I tried to think about you learning to navigate a traffic circle or roundabout. I thought back to when your Grammy (that’s Mrs. Grandpa) bought a car when she was 16, with her Grandma Nola as a co-signor. That ’73 Impala had an in-dash 8-track player. She wore out 8-tracks of Pat Benatar and Neil Diamond. How different the world was then.

How incredibly different the world will be when you’re 16.

Look at me, skipping ahead 16 years. Trouble is, I’m kinda feverish tonight, so I might tend to ramble and skip from topic to topic. (My editors must think I have a constant fever). Your Grammy tells me my ailment is something viral, then she kisses my check and heads to bed, leaving me to switch channels to find the Sugar Bowl. I sure do hope that by the time I can convince you to pay attention to college football and sports in general — and it will be quite a challenge, because Grammy despises football — the college ranks will have a playoff and a true championship tournament.

I should be finalizing my New Year’s resolutions, considering the new year is almost a week old already. But I’ll get around to it. I stopped resolving to stop procrastinating about 20 years ago. I’ll have 42 resolutions, same as last year. And again, No. 36 is “kiss a duck.” (Didn’t check it off the 2011 list). Your mom and Grammy will give you all the order and organization you’ll ever need. When it comes to embracing the lovely random moments of life, that’s where your Aunt Tasha and I come in.

Someday we’ll kiss ducks together. And watch the meteor showers. And go to IHOP and eat breakfast at midnight. Promise.

Grandpa and his buddy Juno. That's Juno on my lap. She lived with me and Grammy for a couple of months. One of her two mommies, Kelly P., stayed with us while she finished the fall semester at Mizzou. Juno's other mommy, Rudi, got a job in Cincinnati, Ohio. It's confusing to explain the "two mommies" idea to you now. I'll be that when you're 16, people won't whisper about it like they do now. Kelly P. and Rudi are getting married in March. I hope we can make the trip.

 Here’s another big Grandpa flaw. On one hand I sometimes have trouble starting a project and when it comes to writing, I have even more trouble stopping. (A certain Editor Wegman might read this and answer, “You don’t say?”)

I’m just so excited about seeing you, being a part of your life, doing everything I can so that you will never question whether you are important to me. I can’t wait for y0u to be you and, if I’m really lucky, maybe at least a tiny, tiny bit like me.

This is Grandpa with your mom, Kishia (you're that baby bump in her belly) and your Aunt Jay'Shane. Your wacky Aunt Jay can tell you someday about a bunch of us getting up in the middle of the night to lay in a dark field at 2 a.m. -- it was SO cold -- to watch the Perseids light up the crystal clear sky. By the way, Aunt Jay's baby is supposed to get here the day before you come. (By the way, that's hot-wing sauce on my shirt. I'll look like that most of the time.)


I mentioned your Aunt Tasha. I can't wait to hear the two of you sing together. Here's your Aunt Natasha having a blast leading her students in the Christmas concert at Johnson County Christian Academy. The only thing she loves more than music is Jesus. You'll be hearing a LOT about him.


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