Sharon Randall, 2-8-12: A special story for my grandson


When he is older, I will tell my grandson Henry this story. It is his story, mostly. But it also belongs to other children who were, like him, born into a world where one income is seldom enough to support a family, but were lucky enough to have parents who made it work.

It's a good story. He will like it.

"Henry," I will say, deepening my voice to sound like Catwoman, in the hope of holding his attention, "listen up. I'm getting old. Never mind how old. I want to tell you this before I forget. Are you ready?

"When you were 4 months old -- the size, shape and sweetness of a big sack of sugar -- your mama had to go back to work.

"This was not something she wanted to do. She loved being a teacher, and she was good at it. But thanks to you, she had recently discovered the job she was best at, and loved most of all: Being your mama.

"Yes, even on days when you threw hissy fits reminiscent of your late, great-grandmother.

"Your daddy worked hard, too, long hours at a restaurant. But when it came time to decide who'd look after you while your mama was at school, he said, 'I will. I want to take of my son.'

"That is what he said, Henry. I heard it with my own ears. And you know I have really big ears.

"So he switched shifts at the restaurant to work nights and stay home with you by day.

"This was no small thing. Knights battling dragons were never as brave as your daddy. Not that he wasn't up to the task. He was, absolutely. But he didn't know it at the time. He'd spent only an occasional hour alone with you. Could you both survive an all-day smackdown? We were soon to see.

"That is where I came in. Your mama, ever the planner, asked me to fly in from Las Vegas (where you and your cousins would attend Nana Camp every summer) to be on hand to "help out" the first two weeks.

"I was happy to do so, if only for the chance to smell your neck. I loved smelling it then as much as I do now. Only, back then you smelled like milk. Now you smell like ... a boy.

"This also allowed me to hang out with your daddy, whom I'd loved long before you were born but not as much as I'd come to love him in the next two weeks.

"Imagine our surprise the first day your mama went back to school (after she nursed you, changed you, pumped breast milk for later and kissed you a thousand times) when you flat-out refused to take a bottle.

"I told your daddy not to worry, you'd eat when you got hungry. It was not the last time you would prove me wrong.

"Hours passed like root canals and you, little toad, kept crying.

"Your daddy rocked you, sang to you, changed your diaper, swung you around the house like a June bug on a string.

"Finally, in desperation, he took a spoon and ladled your mama's milk into your mouth. You lapped it up like a kitten.

"And that's when I knew what I'd suspected all along: Your daddy was going to take good care of you. When your mama came home from school each day, you might cling to her like a cat trying to avoid a bath. But you and your daddy were going to be the best of friends.

"Not every boy is as lucky as you are, Henry, to know and be known by his father. Your dad knows this. Maybe that's why he loves taking care of you.

"Maybe that's why he said being with you had made him the happiest he'd ever been.

"Or maybe it was because you smelled like milk and tasted like sugar and threw fits like your late great-grandmother.

"Either way, he's my hero. I suspect he will be yours, too."

(Sharon Randall can be contacted at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077 or at

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  • Sharon, I read your wonderful columns in The Sunday Press, Muncie, IN. If I remember correctly you are from near this area. I am particularily interested in Reusing the 12 Wisdom statements made by your husband for his 60th birthday. I would be typing them into a "Wedding Letter" for a young couple to be married this Spring. I thought them very appropriate for the ocassion. I am 85 years old and have been a widow for 12 years. Thank you! Betty J. Sollars 2301 S Vine Street Yorktown, IN 47396