Posted 11/20/19 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
With Christmas just around the corner, it was Lisa and my plans to decorate our house for Christmas this past weekend. While those decorating chores normally don’t occur until Thanksgiving weekend, we knew that we were going to have to get the tree up and the house decorated a little earlier because we were hoping to welcome our first grandchild sometime the third week of November and then head to South Dakota to spend Thanksgiving with our son in Rapid City.
But those holiday decorating plans were put on hold on Monday, Nov. 11. Just as I was arriving at the Veterans Day flag raising ceremonies at the new McKenzie County Veterans Memorial Park our oldest son, Justin, called from Phoenix informing us that our grandson had been born earlier that morning.
Now as everyone knows, babies come when they are ready and not when the doctors, the parents or the grandparents are expecting them. Everyone was expecting the child to be born the third week of November or possibly later.
But Remington Justin decided that Veterans Day was the perfect day to make his appearance in the world. And who are we to argue with that decision as Veterans Day is also a special day for the Shipman family. It was on that day in 1960 that my father and mother packed up me and my three brothers and moved to Watford City.
So instead of unloading boxes of Christmas decorations and spending hours decorating the tree and the house, Lisa and I jumped on a plane on Friday evening for our first official meet and greet with this 6 lb. 14 oz. bundle of joy.
And as every grandparent can attest, there is nothing more special than seeing your grandchild for the first time and watching the new parents adjust to suddenly no longer being just a couple, but now a family.
As parents we’ve all gone through the trials and tribulations of that first child. We worried that we didn’t know how we could ever care for something so tiny and so precious. We worried that we were holding them too much or not enough. Were we feeding the baby enough or too little. We bounded out of bed at night every time the baby tossed and turned. We had to learn how to change diapers, and then turn right around and changed another one all while balancing a bottle of formula. And we learned just how little sleep we really needed.
So from Friday night until we boarded our flight back to North Dakota on Sunday morning, grandma and grandpa got to do what grandparents do best. We held and fed Remington Justin Shipman non-stop while dispensing all of the wise advice that we could to Justin and Elizabeth.
So for the next two weekends our Christmas decorations will still be sitting in the boxes and our house is going to look very unholidayish until sometime in December. But I can live with that. We have a new priority.
And with our original flight to Phoenix booked for this Thursday, I guess we are going to have to struggle with another weekend of cooing and cuddling our new grandson.
A grandparents’ job is never done.