It was back in April of last year that I got the surprise of a lifetime via email from my daughter who shared that I had been a grandfather for several weeks. “Aiden Kristopher Coy Campbell,” she wrote, “was born March 20, 2009 at 7:25 a.m.”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt at being entirely left out of what was not only such a momentous and miraculous period in Katie’s life, but also must’ve been a frightening one, too.

Shocked as I was at the news I was not at all surprised at being left so completely unaware. Katie and I are still slow and tentative in rebuilding our fractured relationship, and the process has certainly not been helped by people in her life who’d rather not see us succeed.

But out of my love and respect for Katie I won’t rehash the past. All I’ll say is had I been included, Katie would have had my support and love at a time when she could have most certainly used it.

In the months that followed I was hesitant to meet the baby. I chalk it up to lingering disappointment, coupled to a basic inability to wrap my head around the reality that at such a tender stage of middle age I was now a grandfather.

Well, both that denial and dejection were officially retired yesterday afternoon. Katie had texted me on Valentine’s Day weekend that she hoped we could get together soon and I texted her back asking about coming over this weekend.  One thing led to another and she was able to drive her and Aiden over and Susan and I spent the next several hours falling in love with my grandson, who’ll turn 1 next month.

Here he is with Jiggy, the first cat he’s ever seen, according to his momma. Aiden’s pretty much the first baby Jiggy’s ever seen so there was mutual curiosity and appreciation:


(click for the bigger pictures)

What a remarkable mom my Katie is, and what a wonderful little soldier he is. Aiden’s not just the Second Cutest Tyke Ever (behind Katie, of course), but he’s super energetic, curious with a ready smile or a stern look of reproach and a tremendous level of tolerance and poise in the midst of Ranger’s inevitable rowdy/barky wariness to new peeps. Plus he’s absolutely adorable. Or did I say that already?

Well if those pictures above aren’t proof enough, I’ll leave you with this quick vid of Aiden with Ranger discovering that the taste of dog nose is definitely an aquired one: