Norman: And the second shall be last
On Christmas Day 2020, we received the great news! Carolyn and I are going to be grandparents again! Our daughter Noelle and husband Zach had it all planned out --- their little 2 year-old son Ollie opened up the last present, a large Christmas wrapped box (we grandparents thought it was going to be a big toy), and out floated blue and pink balloons with small cardboard signs attached, reading “Promoted To Big Brother.”
At 70 years old, it took me a moment to get it. But I finally got it and what a thrill! Totally unexpected. Our 35 year-old-son, Charles IV, already has four boys (including a Charles V), and he and wife Leigh are done. Noelle experienced some lingering medical issues after Ollie was born in October 2019, and even after full recovery, she informed us that she, too, was not planning on having any more kids.
We understood and feel very blessed to have the five grandsons we have. Each one is special in his own way. Yet, in the back of our minds, there was a little bit of a selfish yearning for Noelle to possibly change her mind once things settled down and, Lord willing, have one more.... Ollie needs a sibling (even if it’s a girl!).
So, as it is now, if things go as planned, hoped and prayed, around the first week in August we’ll have another little Overturf as a part of our family. This weekend, there will be another reveal party with shooting canister flares of matching colors of blue or pink to indicate the gender. As I write, nobody but Noelle’s good friend Kathy (who has the flares in her possession) knows if this little one is a boy or girl.
We’ll all find out the same time. I’ve already got two boys’ names and two girls’ names all picked out and ready to submit for the “name suggestion” bowl. Noelle and Zach will dutifully pull out the small pieces of papers with the submitted names and read aloud for the gathering of friends and family.
For me, I thought, hey, how about “Charles VI” or “Norman” for a boy’s first name? And for a girl, I’m liking “Norma” or possibly “Noelle, Jr.” ... just saying. Actually, we are so pleased, it matters not gender or name, we just know we’re fortunate. I do ponder the kind of world these children will be growing up in, and it concerns me greatly.
Most of us in our 60’s, 70’s and beyond agree that we grew up in the “best of times“ and in the most wonderful country ever. I was raised in Odessa as an only child, and I remember the day when doors to the house could be left unlocked, when as a 10-year-old, I could ride my bike across town to see my grandfolks, and a time when your word and a handshake sealed the deal.
My, how times have changed... sad, isn’t it? I recall the song by The Judds (“Grandpa Tell Me About The Good Ol’ Days”) that was played on guitar and sung by my son at my dad’s memorial service some 13 years ago. That’s where I am right now. It’s sobering. With all the political, cultural, and racial divide in our nation, I wonder where we’re headed.
The anger, the vitriol, and the hostility toward those might disagree with a particular narrative is especially alarming. I ponder again. Then it comes to me --- who’s really in control here?... Is anyone? The Good Book says God is. Our Maker, our Creator. He knows all this stuff going on. He’s omniscient and omnipotent. I mean, right now, in my daughter’s body is a little one just-a-growing.
He or she is about the size of a perfectly shaped lime and the gender’s already determined. This little one even has a detectable heartbeat racing about 150 beats per minute (twice the speed of mother Noelle.) You know what that is? It’s a miracle... not just some evolving mesh of flesh, bone and tissue that somehow fuses together and in 39 weeks, suddenly comes out a baby.
I think Jeremiah 1:15 (NIV) says it best of all: “Before you were formed in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.” We should all marvel at the thought. This child is a gift of love from above. It’s one way of God telling us, “I’m not through with the human race just yet. There is still hope. There is still a reason to live.... a reason for life.”
Despite all the anarchy and chaos so prevalent in our world, I take great comfort in knowing He has a plan. For me, my family and even this little child whom I already love and have never even met. Knowing in all likelihood, this is the last one, I shall endeavor more than ever to savor and cherish these precious fleeting moments coming our way --- from my first sight of this little infant, to the first cry and the first poop.
It’s all still a miracle... how else could one explain, one second, this little bitty baby gets its oxygen and nutrition from an umbilical cord, and then the next moment he/she is breathing the air we breathe, all on its own? It’s a divine act of the Lord God Almighty, and I feel very privileged to be here to experience it.
Yep, it’s no secret Carolyn and are hoping for a little granddaughter this last grandchild. But regardless, we know that children are a reward from the Lord (Psalm 12:3), and do not and will not take this gift, this child lightly or for granted.
I shall appreciate the first yawn, the first smile, the first giggle all the more. It’s my last go around and I’m going to bask in the Good Lord’s goodness to me as never before.
P.S. OK, here’s the deal: the way I like to figure it, the odds are greatly in our favor for this grandchild (No. 6) to be a girl --- a 96.8% chance --- after five male grandchildren in a row. Go figure. Others say it’s really 50–50.
Whatever. If it it’s a boy, he must be very special. But think of the odds. Statistics don’t lie (ha!). It’s just how you look at it. Right? On January 31, 2021, at 2:11 pm family and friends all celebrated as pink flares came forth from the gender reveal powder cannons! (I still think the name “Norma” has a nice flair to it).
Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.