By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
Now that I have reached middle age, that wonderful stage of life between changing your kids’ diapers and needing them yourself, I have begun to grow a bit more reflective. This isn’t easy to take, especially in the morning, when my reflection in the bathroom mirror tells me that I am getting old.
The passage of time really hit home when I found out that the first guy in my circle of friends (at our age, it’s too difficult to form a trapezoid) became a grandfather.
My wife, Sue, and I went to college with Tim Lovelette, who with his wife, Jane, are now grandparents of Anna Grace Lovelette, daughter of Tim and Jane’s older son, Marshall, and his wife, Sara, if you are scoring at home.
Last year, our older daughter, Katie, married her husband, Dave, which made me the first person in our obtuse triangle of friends to be father of the bride. Now it is Tim’s turn because his and Jane’s daughter, Amy, is getting married next year to her fiancé, Mel, which will make him (Tim, not Mel) father of the bride.
This recently allowed Tim and me to give each other unsolicited advice, which, if we are smart, and there is ample evidence to the contrary, we won’t take.
The meeting of the minds, or what passed for them, since cocktails were involved, occurred when Sue and I visited Tim and Jane at their home on Cape Cod. Tim reminisced fondly about the moment when he found out he was a grandfather. "I demanded a paternity test for Marshall," he said. "I’m still not a grandfather. In the absence of the test, I’m not sure the whole thing is going to stick."
According to an official source (Jane), it will, so Tim picked the name he wants Anna, who is 5 months old, to call him when she learns to talk. His choice: Big Daddy. "Not for any other reason than that Jane will have to be known as Big Mama," said Tim, who acknowledged that he has to lose a few pounds for Amy’s wedding. Jane, a marathon runner, is anything but big.
Then, inevitably, the subject of changing diapers came up. Will Tim do it? "Not at all," he said firmly. "I’m world-famous for not performing my fatherly duties, so it’s advancing one generation."
What about bottle feeding? "I’ll bring a quart of liquor and a nipple," Tim said. "I’ll outdrink the baby."
And what words of wisdom did Tim give to Marshall? "Hide. Get out of the house. Pretend you have to go to work. Your qualities as a father will be pretty limited, so take up fishing, boating, get a second job if you have to."
Speaking of jobs, Marshall works for Tim at Lovelette Insurance, a third-generation agency on the Cape, and recently brought Anna to the office. "Every woman in the place had to hold her," Tim recalled. "There was zero production. It set business back three years in one trip. She’s the most expensive baby ever born."
Tim, of course, said all of this with tongue in cheek, which made him pretty hard to understand, and even though he thinks he’s better-looking than the baby (sorry, Tim, but no one else does), he’s thrilled to be a grandfather, which was obvious when Sue and I met Anna. She is, without question, the best-behaved baby in the world. She developed a regular sleeping pattern her second night home, although, Marshall said, "That first night was tough. I’ve been recovering ever since." A chip off the old block!
Also, Anna didn’t scream or cry when she saw me. In fact, she cooed and laughed and let me hold her while Marshall snapped a picture of us and e-mailed it to Katie, who drove out with Dave the next day and met Anna.
When, the question was asked, will Jerry be a grandfather? Immediate answer: Not just yet.
Besides, the next big event will be Amy and Mel’s wedding. "Your chief role as father of the bride," I informed Tim, "is to be like a bobblehead doll: Just keep nodding and sign everything that is put in front of you. Otherwise, stay the hell out of the way."
"I’ve already done my part," Tim said. "I’ve agreed to show up."
What more could you ask of two guys who not only love their growing families, but who have promised to be burdens to everyone in their old age? Then again, that’s what everyone says about us now.
Copyright 2007 by Jerry Zezima