When Baby and “Poppie” Came Without Clothes

I got back from Nashville this morning at 2:00 AM.

Charlotte and I were there for the birth of our first grandchild.

Brody was born on Thursday at 5:03 PM.

Of course he was born without clothes.

A nurse wrapped Brody in a swaddling blanket. For several days in the hospital, he was wrapped in an assortment of these baby blankets.

Now of course, the grandparents are supposed to have clothes. Only this grandparent didn’t.

Yep, I forgot to take my clothes to Tennessee.

Now that’s embarrassing to admit.

I’m not sure what happened. Early Wednesday morning, Charlotte and I were getting ready to leave our home in Central Texas and travel to Nashville. Charlotte had her suitcase packed. She also had clothes to hang up in our car. I packed another suitcase. I also brought pants and shirts to hang up in our car. There were enough clothes to wear for four days.

I put everything in the car. Well, almost everything.

That night we got to Nashville. We were unloading our car and bringing our clothes into the house. As I hung Charlotte’s clothes in the guest bedroom closet, I had a sick feeling.

I forgot my clothes.

No shirts.

No pants.

I only had shoes, underclothes and what I arrived wearing, a shirt and a pair of shorts.

I could not believe this.

So the next day, I bought a pair of pants and for four days borrowed Phillip’s (my son-in-law) shirts.

Somehow, in the middle of this wonderful birth, I forgot about the inconvenience of not bringing my own clothes. I was totally absorbed in the birth of this little boy and condition of my daughter. Sometime soon, I want to reflect on what it means for me to be a grandfather (thanks Monica T. for suggesting this in a comment on Facebook). I have so much to learn though I am excited about the opportunity.

(By the way “Poppie” is the name at this point at least until this child changes it.)


What did your grandparents do right? What would you like to duplicate when you have grandchildren?



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20 thoughts on “When Baby and “Poppie” Came Without Clothes

  1. It’s so good that usually we can just go shopping to buy some new items – others don’t have that opportunity nor the means!! That’s too funny though and you are well initiated into grandfatherhood! Your question begs more thought – I only had both sets of grands just until I was age ten, when we moved to Canada. I should do a blog post about my grandparents sometime!

  2. Neither my parents nor my maternal grandmother were Christians, but my paternal grandparents were. Living 1,600 miles away, I saw them a total of six times in my life. Two of those encounters occurred when they made short visits to see us in my pre-teen years. Though neither visit lasted more just a few days, they didn’t “skip church” while with us, and managed to get us to go with them. Their conviction and consistency greatly impressed me and made me all the more curious about them and what they believed.

    My grandmother had a habit of writing a 2-3 page letter every week during my years at home and with the letter she would always include a tract, a bulletin article, etc. The letter would almost always arrive on a Thursday and I would look forward to seeing my mother open the envelope, and reading aloud to me what my grandmother had written about their simple life in far away Modesto, California. The letters rarely mentioned anything about religion or the enclosed literature, so the message was subtle (“I’m not being pushy, but I do want to share something with you that I consider worthy of your attention”). As the letters were saved and archived on a bookcase shelf in our living room, so was the Christian literature. As I grew older, I would sometimes thumb through the old letters and read them, seeking to know more about my grandparents. In so doing, I also looked through the literature and read virtually all of it, to the point that by the time I was in my teens, I would sometimes seek out the letters for the literature first. Such was virtually the sum total of my religious education as a child, but it plowed the field of my heart, making it ready to receive the Word.

    One evening during my senior year of high school, my girlfriend’s father sat down across the kitchen table fom me, opened his Bible, and said “I’d like to study the Bible with you sometime and see you become a Christian.” It was a rather brief study, for nearly every text we turned to, I already knew what it said and had given it some thought … due to my grandmother’s letters/literature.

    Having been a Christian for 34 years now, and preaching weekly for 30 of those years, I have often pondered just how very, very different my life would surely be had it not been for my Grandma Lucy (Witt) Smith hand-writing a letter, and stuffing the envelope with good stuff and a prayer. She did much to, quite literally, save my life. And so, I’ll be doing something of the same for my grandchildren.

    • David, what wonderful memories! What a wonderful example of a grandmother who did not allow space and distance to prevent you from having relationship with her and being influenced by her. Your comment illustrates the power of a letter or note. Sounds as if your grandmother was very intentional in what she was doing. Thanks.

  3. My grandparents lived on another continent, so I didn’t meet them. But I know they were godly people and most likely prayed for me.

    My parents didn’t always live near us, but they visited as often as they could. My grandchildren felt very loved by them. My parents prayed for each of their grandchildren daily.

    Now I’m a grandmother of five and want to affirm grandparents in their important role and encourage them to pass on a godly legacy. I’ve written a book for grandparents: Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting: For Grandparents at Any Stage of the Journey. You can learn more about it here: http://www.preparingmyheart.net.

    If you’re able to help me spread the word about this book, I’d appreciate it. I pray it will bless future generations.

    Happy grandparenting!

    Lydia E. Harris

    • Lydia,

      So glad to hear about your ministry and book. What you describe is a wonderful perspective on grandparenting. Thanks!

  4. My Granny died almost exactly a year ago. She was 94 years old. She was the perfect example of hospitality and servanthood. I didn’t know my Papa as I wished I could have – he died when I was 9 years old. Granny spoke of him as if he was the most wonderful person on the face of the earth – I believe to her he was. She didn’t have much, but what she had she shared generously. We even called her house “All us’s house”, a phrase my cousin said when they were living there once. She studied the Bible diligently, though her formal education ended at 16. Many times, well into her 80s, you could walk in her house(literally since all her grankids had a key – I kept mine)and find her sitting in the living room floor, 5-6 different translations of the Bible spread out in front of her, learning something new. Her servant heart and her thirst for knowledge have had such lasting impressions on me.

    When I was a child, the most vivid memory of her is her greeting us at the front door when we arrived. She would have the door open before the car engine cut off, obviously waiting for us. That made me feel so important!! Because of her, I think grandparents serve a vital role and you and Charlotte will be wonderful at it!

    • Carrie, I loved this comment! I loved hearing about your Granny. What a special woman! To think that you remember walking into her house and she was reading her Bible and attempting to learn something. Now THAT is the way to be remembered.

      I also loved the part about her greeting you at the door as soon as you arrived.

      Again, thanks for sharing this. Very inspiring!

  5. Jim,

    You missed a great opportunity to go on a shopping spree – I hear the fall selections are great this year! Ha!

    I refer to my grandmother these days as โ€œMother Teresaโ€ – her first name really was Teresa. She just filled in the gaps of caring for me and my sisters when mom and dad were working! I remember an incident when a black-cat firecracker blew up in my hand and she cut off a chunk of one of her Aloe Vera plants and made the hurt go away.

    Iโ€™m not a grand parent yet, but the second thing I will pick up when I have grandkids is a couple of Aloe Vera plants. The first thing will definitely be a new wardrobe. Bermuda shorts with long black or white socks and a fanny pack to boot:). Congratulations “Poppie”!

    • George! I should have taken the opportunity! ๐Ÿ™‚ I still can’t believe that I did that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I like the story about your grandmother. Sounds like she played a significant role in your life. What a wonderful memory!

  6. This is a precious story – one that sets the tone for your relationship with this little guy!

    One of my grandmothers used to write me a poem every year on my birthday. I didn’t understand the gift when I was a kid, but now that I’m a grandma myself, I realize the impact of her expression of love.

    • Michelle, good to hear from you. I suspect that when he hears this story one day, he will probably say, “Really? You’ve got to be kidding!” ๐Ÿ™‚

      What a gift from your grandmother! Every year. What a thoughtful gesture.

  7. Brody is absolutely adorable!!! I think he looks a lot like Christine! I have been so excited for your family all week. Congratulations, Poppie! Brody is so blessed to have you and Charlotte as grandparents!

    • Lauren! Thank you for sharing in this excitement. Thank you for the kind words.

      I thought about you and Josh several times last week and wished that you could have been there. You are such a good mother. I am grateful for your friendship with Christine.

  8. Jim, glad you made it back home safe and sound. Brady sure is a cute baby and Dereece and I are so thankful that we got to share a little of that special time with you and your family.
    The thing I remember about my parental grandparents was their home was always open for visitors and my grandmother always had something sweet to eat. I remember them always going to church even if they had guest/family at the house and them saying “ya’ll stay till we get back from church”. I remember my grandmother singing “church songs” while she was doing her work in the kitchen.
    I remember them coming to pick me up for Church if I needed a ride even though it was out of their way.
    I want to have the same kind of positive CHRISTIAN impact on my grandchildren.

    • Doug, so glad that you were able to come for the afternoon. Christine and Phillip enjoyed having you in their home.

      What wonderful memories of your grandparents! There is something about their hospitality coupled with their faith that sounds very warm and inviting. Though I never met your grandmother, I can almost see her in the kitchen singing as she worked.

  9. Sweet. Where do I get one of these? Does Wal-Mart carry them?
    I’ve heard the story of leaving your heart in San Francisco but never your Breeches in Texas.

    • Karen, thanks for your note. Not sure where you get one of these. However, if anyone does have them, it will be Wal-Mart!

      Yep, I did leave the Breeches in Texas! Not sure how to top that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Jim, what a funny story! I have many fond memories of grandparents. One that I only remember being told about. My maternal grandfather (Pop White) was a quiet, almost taciturn man, but he had a way of letting me know he valued me anyway. When I was born up in Indiana, Pop and Mamaw made the trip from Alabama to see me, their first grandchild. As the story goes, they arrived late at night after their long journey. My mother answered the knock on the door and stepped forward, expecting to get a greeting, perhaps a hug, from her father. Instead he brusquely said, “Well, where is it?!” and headed straight for the crib, never looking to the left or right, as my mother told it! I have always loved that story, as it let me know just how very excited my normally stolid grandfather was! I predict that the story of leaving your clothes behind will come to be one of Brody’s favorite stories of his Poppie!

  11. Connie, I love that story about Pop White. Wow!

    Regarding the story of the clothes– I suspect you are right. Probably destined to become a favorite. ๐Ÿ™‚