The Good Old Days

Dear Ellie — When people get to be a certain age — let’s say Opa’s and my age — you’ll notice they may start talking fondly about The Good Old Days. They’ll get a misty look in their eyes and turn inward, seeing something you…

Roaming With a Passport

Ellie — Well, you just had your first international trip. You even have a passport, with a photo that shows you glaring at the camera. (Passport photos are never good, even when you’re an attractive baby.) You and your parents met Uncle Nick, his girlfriend…

One Year Old

Ellie — You’re almost a year old now, and your grandfather and I will be coming to help you celebrate. If you’re anything like your mother at the same age, you’ll smear icing all over your face and fall asleep with your head in the…

Civilization or Bust

Ellie — Well, you’ve now come and gone again. It had been almost three months since your grandfather and I had seen you — and I was struck by how much you’ve changed. When you first saw us this time, you sat and regarded us…

Hire Education

Ellie — Since you recently turned nine months and are motoring your way into toddlerhood, I think it’s time to talk about something serious: jobs. Yes, jobs. I’m not talking about a career or profession, which is a serious business you don’t have to think…

Learning to Crawl

Ellie — Opa and I took a wonderful trip to Seattle to see you and your parents two weeks ago. We came back with lots of warm memories, a zillion photos of you and us, and, as a bonus, the cold you had. What did we…

Introducing Your Maternal Grandfather

Dear Ellie — I’m thinking the time has come to introduce you to your maternal grandfather, Opa. After all, his 66th birthday is coming up on March 2, a/k/a Texas Independence Day, which you may not celebrate in Seattle. This is a little daunting. I’ve been…

The Teal Stories

Dear Ellie — When you’re pregnant, one of the most delightful tasks you have is to pick out a name for the baby. Well, wait a minute. Delightful may be overstating it. It’s a big responsibility to name a new human being, after all. And,…

Turkeys and Temblors

Dear Ellie — Thirty-three years ago, Opa and I came across a quote we really loved. “Having a baby,” it read, “is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.” Exactly! we both exclaimed, screeching with deranged laughter. A bowling alley! How very precise!…

Dear Ellie

You’ve now been in this world almost 48 hours. Forty-eight hours of photo flashes and prying, poking doctors and grinning, rhapsodic parents and rumbling traffic and leaking breasts and blaring sirens. Kind of a wild, teeming mess, isn’t it? Welcome! I’m your maternal grandmother, Ruth…