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Monday, December 27, 2010

Behind the Scenes

This year for Christmas, we gave our grandparents (Caleb and Charlotte's great-grandparents) a book of pictures from throughout the year. After publishing the book, we realized, to our horror, that we hadn't included a picture of Grandpa Knickerbocker (Peter's father).

I sat for days, going through pictures on the computer, trying to find a picture of him and Charlotte. And I couldn't. I felt horrible. This man, this wonderful, loving father, had visited Charlotte at least once a week when she was in the hospital. It didn't matter if he could only stay for five minutes, he made sure he got a visit in. The nurses and staff often commented on how dedicated he was to Charlotte. He kept family members up to date. He called, he coordinated, he babysat Caleb so we could visit (well, Grandma Knickerbocker babysat, but he helped!). He did so much to get us through such a scary time in our lives and we didn't even have a picture! Racked with guilt, I wondered why.

Why didn't I take the time to snap a picture of my daughter and her grandfather? Charlotte was in the hospital for almost 30 weeks. That's at least 30 opportunities for a photo. And yet, still, I didn't have one.

And then, I realized why.

Grandpa Knickerbocker was the person who was there for Charlotte when no one else could be. When Peter and I were doing things for Caleb, or for ourselves, Grandpa was there. When we were sick, or tired, or beaten down, he was there. When no one else could arrange to sit with our baby, he did. He fielded questions, he kept up to date, he offered support we didn't know we needed. He did so quietly. He did so behind the scenes. He did so without having a picture taken or a mention in a book. He loved (and loves) when we were simply too stretched to offer anything.

Given the choice, I'd love to have a picture of him with Charlotte in the NICU.

But I wouldn't trade it for the love and support he offered us when we couldn't be there.

And I think, that's why Charlotte has made it. We can talk about what a fighter she is, and how far she has come, but really, what it comes down to is this: Charlotte has people who love her. Charlotte has a Grandpa, an Aunt, a Cousin, a Friend, etc who fills in when her parents couldn't. She has people who pick up the slack when someone is burned out. She has such an incredible support system, made up of people who don't even have a picture with her.

I have to think, if we all had "Grandpa Knickerbockers", we'd be in a much, much better place.

We're just so grateful that Charlotte has hers.

So much more than grateful.


  1. What a moving dedication. Cheers to Grandpa Knickerbocker.
    -Kay M.

  2. For a young woman, you have the wisdom that many never can obtain in a lifetime. How do you manage to be so incredibly insightful? Some parents let the guilt override everything else and don't let people help them when they really need it. By seeing this, I believe it is how you avoided the severe burn-out that comes as part of the NICU package. Most babies just want someone who can hold them, comfort them, feed or change them, etc. And that person doesn't always have to be a parent. Most infants really don't care one way or the other (although they do sense parents) who this person is, as long as it is someone. And we all love them in our own special way (even the NICU nurses, too). I believe in treating people like I would like myself or my loved ones to be treated. Charlotte (and all of you) are lucky to have friends and family members who do this without question. They are wonderful!!!! Happy New Year!

  3. I'm sure he would rather not be mentioned on the blog but everything you said about him is true. Including introducing Caleb to the world of John Deere. We are lucky to have him!

  4. Charlotte and Grandpa K are so lucky to have each other!