My already-bright world is even brighter.
Two months ago, my oldest son moved in with us. Two weeks ago, his 1-year-old son moved in, too.
Oh, my gosh. I've got a baby in the house.
I couldn't be happier.
I've known since I gave birth to my first child that I was born to be a mother. I knew since the birth of my first grandchild that I was born to be a grandmother. And the way things have turned out, my oldest daughter and two granddaughters, Tilleigh, 6, and Evie, 3, live next door, and my son, Kevin, and his son, William, now live with us.
At 61, I learned a long time ago that life isn't perfect. Sure, it would be an ideal situation if William lived in a loving home with his two parents, but it's just not in the cards. It's never going to happen. Instead, he's living in a loving home with his father and grandparents, where he is the center of attention, not only from the adults in the household, but his two doting cousins and aunt who live next door.
William is also fortunate that he will spend quality time with his maternal family as well as paternal aunts, uncles and a great-grandmother. There will be no shortage of love.
With my granddaughters living next door, my house has been kid-friendly for the last five years. Prior to William's arrival, there were chifforobes designated for toys, a child-size table and chairs, an easel, a play kitchen, a child's desk, a doll house, child-size recliners -- and lots more -- in place.
Now there's a toddler's activity center, a Pack 'n Play, a high chair, a baby's bed and shelves dedicated to toddler toys. It's a bona fide kid zone. And nothing makes me happier.
Additionally, there's another kid-zone house next door, complete with playhouse, swimming pool, swing sets, seesaw and, of course, much more.
The sound of laughter, even crying, from a baby is the sound of life. It's the sound of my late father's genes filling the air. It's the sound of a little boy, the only one so far, who carries the name "Nazor" to another generation. It's the sound of love.
I met William on the night of his birth. I was the first person to hold him, other than the hospital staff. I was holding him when he opened his eyes for the first time and, though he probably couldn't focus, he was looking directly into my eyes. I cried from the sheer joy of it. I also promised him that I would see that he was protected and safe.
Family is everything to me and, thankfully, my husband feels the same way. He is the stepfather to my children, and he loves them. He rarely refers to himself as their stepfather but instead says "father." Fortunately, we married when his sons and my sons were fairly young and they all became close friends and brothers. In fact, my stepson, Matt, and son, Kit, were roommates in college. Our families blended beautifully.
My husband is also an incredible grandfather. He adores his granddaughters and the feeling is mutual. It's my husband's support that resulted in William living with us. I will forever be grateful.
The little fellow has a lot to look forward to. He doesn't know that the white beard his grandfather is presently growing will in a few months transform his grandfather to Santa Claus, a role he has played since Tilleigh turned 2.
He'll learn that the path leading from our house to his cousins' house is named Tilleigh Evie Boulevard. He'll be thrilled to learn that it intersects at William's Way, a path that loops around an area that will house a million bright lights and decorations at Christmas.
He will be thrilled that at Christmas when our homes resemble the North Pole. It's a kid's dream. And mine.
He'll go to sleep on Christmas Eve with nary a present under the tree. But when he wakes on Christmas morning, he'll see that Santa left many goodies for him, his cousins, aunts and uncles and everyone in the family. (I tend to go a little overboard at Christmas -- much to my family's delight.)
In other words, William is going to be a happy little boy saturated with love -- just like his cousins.
My granddaughters call me "Mom," and I know it won't be long until he says it, too. He's got "Da-da" down pat, and I know "Mom" will be spoken soon.
I can't wait.
Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...