DOWN HOME: Letterman’s in for tiring, happy time_111003

Posted: 11/07/03

DOWN HOME:
Letterman's in for tiring, happy time

Comedian David Letterman announced the birth of his first child last week, just a few days before our oldest daughter, Lindsay, turned 20.

Letterman is 56--nine years older than I. If you're a math whiz, you've already figured out I was 29 years younger than Letterman is now when Lindsay joined our family. Her sister, Molly, followed three years and three days later.

So, I'm celebrating Lindsay's 20th and Molly's 17th birthdays this week by counting my blessings.

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Posted: 11/07/03

DOWN HOME:
Letterman's in for tiring, happy time

Comedian David Letterman announced the birth of his first child last week, just a few days before our oldest daughter, Lindsay, turned 20.

Letterman is 56–nine years older than I. If you're a math whiz, you've already figured out I was 29 years younger than Letterman is now when Lindsay joined our family. Her sister, Molly, followed three years and three days later.

So, I'm celebrating Lindsay's 20th and Molly's 17th birthdays this week by counting my blessings.

No matter what else happens in this life, at least I became a father when I was young enough to enjoy, not to mention endure, having babies in the house.

knox_new
MARV KNOX
Editor

Honesty compels me to admit I had it pretty good during Lindsay's and Molly's babyhood. We were blessed so that Joanna, their mama, stayed home. That meant that, nearly all the time, I stayed in bed during the middle-of-the-night feedings.

But I still remember how tired Jo and I were, adjusting to the irregular rhythms of nine-pound crying, burping, spitting, pooping alarm clocks. We walked a marathon every night Lindsay was a baby–walking and patting, patting and walking–trying to get the kid to sleep. Later, I'd be bone-tired from work, and I'd read myself to sleep reciting “Goodnight, Moon” for the 5-millionth time, only to snap awake with a little voice in my ear, “Read it again, Daddy.”

“God was brilliant to devise biology so that mammals have children when they're young,” I thought many times. “Otherwise, they'd never have the energy to survive.”

But now Letterman has his first child at 56. He's already older than any of my grandparents were when I was born. They probably have a nanny for this baby. And the nursery probably is all the way across the mansion from the master bedroom. But the thought of having a baby at 56 still makes me tired.

On the other hand, our first “baby” just crossed the chasm of teenhood, and the second child is only three years and three days behind.

That makes me happy, of course. Raising children is a delight. Watching them become young adults whom you respect and admire and find fascinating is a blessing you can't really appreciate until you experience it.

Every phase of parenthood presents new opportunities and pleasures. That's why I look forward to the coming years, even the so-called empty nest.

Jo and I had a great time before we had children, and I'm sure we'll enjoy the freedom that comes with more control over our calendar.

Still, I can't help but feel a little envious of Letterman. Those years with babies and preschoolers are precious. But maybe by the time I'm his age, I'll be reading “Goodnight, Moon” to my grandkids.

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