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WOSTER: Magnifying the intensity of the wonder

It seems like only yesterday Nancy and I hopped in the car and drove to Chamberlain to the hospital to see a newborn granddaughter.

Seems like, but it was six years ago. Goodness, how time flies when you're growing older and only see a little one like Sage every three or four weeks -- sometimes longer. That degree of separation bothers me. It drives Nancy up the wall.

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(I toyed with putting "up the wall' in all capital letters for emphasis, but if you know Nancy, you don't need me emphasizing how much she longs to be with her granddaughters, and if you don't know her, you wouldn't believe me if I used capital letters and bold, italic, red-highlighted type.)

Everyone who knows me at all is aware that I don't speed. I just don't. I have been known to let up on the accelerator a little late when we approach a lower speed zone at the edge of a town. When I do that, Nancy reminds me of the actual speed limit as we go past the highway sign with the posted limit.

This time, I couldn't wring enough speed out of the old jalopy. The excited woman in the passenger seat let me know on the interstate that 75 mph was only a suggested upper limit and that a trooper would always give a guy a 12-15 mph cushion, especially if he pointed out that he was taking a grandma to see her latest, newest granddaughter. I didn't think she was going to hop out and run on ahead of me down I-90, but I didn't dismiss the thought out of hand, either.

Well, we arrived at the Chamberlain hospital eventually. I didn't spend much time circling the parking lot. My passenger's patience had just about reached its limit. I have no idea how she knew the way to the room, but she sailed down the halls and around the corners and straight to the place. Grandmothers come equipped with an amazing array of super powers, I've learned over the years. Who's to say a sensing and tracking device isn't one of them?

We rushed into the room and by the time I'd said hello to my son and daughter-in-law, Nancy had the tiny infant in her arms. She's always quick to reach out for little babies and hold them. Me, I usually hold back. It isn't that I don't like infants. I do. I just like to study them for a bit, kind of gauging whether they're going to break in two if I hold them. That's worked out pretty well in our relationship. Nancy jumps in and takes the little ones. I hang back and marvel at the miracle.

And grandchildren truly are miracles. When we had our three children, I thought nothing in the world could possibly match the feeling of looking into their immense, dark eyes. Nothing could, not until we had grandchildren. It's even more amazing to see a newborn grandchild than a newborn child, and I know why. It's because with a grandchild, you're sharing the miracle of that new life with the parents -- the other miracles in your life. It magnifies the intensity of the wonder.

Well, mom and dad took Sage home from the hospital soon enough, and she's been an incredibly active, inquisitive and gentle little thing. She was only a year and one-half old when she was diagnosed with diabetes, and that has been a presence in her life since. It hasn't come close to defining her. No way. It has meant thousands of pokes and checks, a world of asking if she may have a piece of candy or a dish of ice cream or even some fruit. She lives with that, and what matters is that she does know how to live. My goodness, the child gets a lot from life. She quotes movie lines, makes up dances and songs, runs from morning to night, swims with abandon and laughs delightedly at nearly everything in her world.

One day, I suppose, she'll grow up and discover not all the world is delightful. It happens. You know what, though? It isn't happening today. Today, she's 6.