Dear Granddaughter, Charis;
This is your Grandpa writing what I am guessing will be your first letter. You may have to have your mom or dad read this. In a few years they may also have to explain what a letter is—by the time you're old enough to read this, letters may be to the written word what 8-tracks are to recorded music. (Maybe that's not very helpful.) I'd tell you it's like an email or a tweet but by the time you can read, those will probably exist only in museums, too. You'll be calling written communication "twerps" or "blurps" or "zagnophoiting".
Whatever the latest fad is, it will have the life-expectancy of a fruit fly.
So, yes, Grandpa is a curmudgeon. But I laugh when I'm cranky. All true curmudgeons laugh when they're cranky. It's an art form. (But how did we get to talking about me?) And you have to be at least 59 years old ... so don't try this at home.
I haven't met you yet but the plan is for me and grandma and great grandma and great grandfather to come visit you in less than four weeks. We can't wait! We're so thrilled God has given you life and brought you into our lives. We're almost as happy as your parents that you're here—and that's a lot of happy, believe me.
Your parents send us pictures of you almost every day, so we already know what you look like. When we come we'll hang around for a few days, get in your parents' way, rearrange the furniture, fuss, give advice, hold you, and be amazed at every little thing you do when you're just making faces because somebody has bad breath. We'll all pose with you, like with the Eiffel tower, just to prove we were in Paris, and so we can be seen with you on Facebook. (Another ancient phenomenon you'll have to have your parents explain.) You won't remember any of the visit, of course--you're pretty young for memories. But we'll remember. Maybe something of us will settle deep in your memory as happy shapes or smells or sounds. But the visit is our beginning with you.
We knew your daddy when he was just as tiny as you. Hard to imagine him tiny, isn't it? You have our permission to give him lots of difficulties—it will help him appreciate how much Grandma and Grandpa went through for his sake. It was well worth it, of course. Easier would have been better, though.
Okay, I take it back. You can be good. Listen to your parents. Remember that they are always on your side, they want only the best for you, and they will do anything they can for your benefit (which is not necessarily the same as everything you want). They're going to make some mistakes but what can you expect? Are they licensed to be parents? Sure, people can read about parenting in books, but the people who write those books name their kids Aloysius or Starburst and they let their kids run around naked, insisting on the natural benefit of cleaning poop off the floor. They live in a village. I never had the patience to read those books. (You can tell?)
We're looking forward to years of getting to know you better. We'll contradict a lot of what your parents teach you ('cause that's the Grandparents' Prerogative). And it will probably do you more good than harm, even if it is true you should listen to your parents most. It's a paradox.
So, happy zeroth birthday, Charis. I know it seems like we missed the party, but we're just late. We're looking forward to celebrating many, many birthdays with you. We will forever be a part of your life.
Grandpa (or as cousin J.D. says, "Papa")