Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My first grandchild!

We have a new member of the Levine family – Rebecca, born last Thursday in Santa Clara, Ca. Congratulations to my son, Matt and daughter-in-law Kim (who did most of the heavy lifting). Rebecca is their first and my first grandchild.

I still can’t believe I’m a grandfather. Now I realize in West Virginia I’d be a great-great grandfather already, but here in California and still having the mindset of a fifteen year-old, it’s a little hard to grasp.

To me, “grandfathers” were Walter Brennan hobbling around as Grandpa McCoy or Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster. Will I now become Frank Barone? Zeb Walton? Abe Simpson? Moms Mabley?

I still don’t know what to call myself. For the moment I’m going with Big Papi (I’m a member of Red Sox Nation).

Matt & Kim live in Silicon Valley and her due date was over a week ago, so my wife and I have been on 24/7 alert. Picture the classic DICK VAN DYKE SHOW episode where Rob practiced grabbing his hat from the headboard to he could get to the hospital eleven nanoseconds sooner.

We got the word from Matt at 6 A.M. on Thursday that they were in the hospital. We then grabbed the first flight to San Jose. (Forget about getting great airline deals when you book last minute. We could go to Yugoslavia in November for what the 300 mile flight to San Jose cost.)

We packed, bought tickets, made hotel reservations, and jumped in my car. By the time we got to LAX we got a text from our son that Rebecca had been born at 8:08 AM and that everyone was doing fine. Through the wonders of overpaying airlines, we arrived at the hospital at 11:00.

Kaiser-Permanente is the first hospital I’ve ever been to where the parking is free. You can’t find a space, but still. In Los Angeles, parking at hospitals cost more than heart operations.

One look at Rebecca and I was in love. They say that happens but no comedy writer believes that. Turns out it’s true! Who knew (besides the rest of the world)?

It’s the miracle of life. And covered by insurance. I will spare you the maudlin paragraph describing the profundity of this blessed event. That’s what Facebook and the Hallmark Channel are for.

I look forward to many days playing with her, bonding with her, drawing pictures, reading stories, and playing tapes of when I used to call Seattle Mariners games.

You know you’re in Silicon Valley when the guy who comes around getting information to fill out the birth certificate also asks a series of questions like what’s your profession, and when the answer is “Engineer” he follows up with “Hardware of Software?” (He was completely thrown when Kim said “Biomedical.”) Ask the same follow-up question in Kansas and it’s “Technical or train?”

My daughter, Annie and her fiancée Jon drove up on Friday. Firstborns always get so much attention, which, by the way, is fine with me. The first child you race up 300 miles; by the fourth child you’re on Skype.

My wife, Debby, who was an amazing mom and has such a knack for swaddling babies you’d think she made burritos at Taco Bell – stayed until yesterday. It’s always nice to have a little extra help when you first bring the baby home because when that door shuts you’re terrified out of your skull. I went home Saturday because, well… I’m useless. Rebecca will be able to connect with me much better when she starts watching MASH reruns. So in a year.

Annie & Jon drove back on Saturday so I hitched a ride with them. Saved that plane fare, which was the equivalent of a one-way first class ticket to Mars. Not a lot of traffic in the middle of the holiday weekend except around Gilroy. Yes, there’s congestion but also the promise of fruit stands. We took the shortest route, which goes through the Central Valley. 200 miles and the big highlight was seeing a cow.

We got hungry and decided to stop for lunch in Kettleman City, which to help you pinpoint exactly where that is – it's between Hanford and Fresno. Population: 1200. But there’s a rest stop with a bevy of franchise food outlets including In & Out. So of course that’s where we went. Us and everyone else in the entire Central Valley. The place was packed. But what’s the alternative? Carl’s Jr.?  I don’t care how many Kardashians eat there. Jon & Annie stopped at a Carl's Jr. near Bakersfield on their last trip and some dude was trying to figure out the push-button soft drink machine. In frustration he finally wailed, “I’m not a rocket scientist! I just want a soda!”

The rest of the journey was uneventful.  Unfortunately, Annie & Jon couldn’t just drop me off at home. They had to take me to LAX to pick up my car. And, as usual, the 405 was packed. Why? It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon. There are not even fruit stands along the way.

Yes, this post was a somewhat transparent excuse to show some baby photos. Come to my house; I have a thousand more. But I’m thrilled to now have Rebecca in my life and I know she’s got the best parents in the world. She’s a very lucky little girl. I just hope when the time comes the other first graders don’t tease her too mercilessly because her “Big Papi” wrote AfterMASH.

Who knows what technical advances she will see in her lifetime? What morons run for president? How many times bell bottoms will be back in style? Those of us growing up in the last century figured we’d be living the life of the Jetsons by now. Maybe she’ll have a car that turns into a briefcase. But whatever the future holds she can assured that I LOVE LUCY reruns will still be available.

I love you, Rebecca. Have a healthy, happy, long, and wonderful life.

83 comments:

Carol said...

Congratulations, Ken. She is beautiful, and you are going to be a wonderful, and very youthful, grandfather!

Frank Kuchno said...

Congratulations!
And trust me.....the joy you are experiencing will never go away.
We all love our kids. But when it comes to grand children.....just imagine that love on steroids!
I've got Elly.....Claire.....Emma......and Dan.
It can get a bit spendy at Christmas.....but there's nothing like it.
Feel free to spoil away!

Terrence Moss said...

congrats, moms mabley!!

i love the references to her and that classic DICK VAN DYKE SHOW episode.

Sérgio said...

Congratulations :-)

Brian Phillips said...

Kettleman City, CA in 2010 had a population of 1,439. Did you run over 200 folks out of there by saying, "I've got baby pictures"?

Congratulations on a healthy granddaughter and great family!!

Mitchell Hundred said...

Aw, she's so cute! Congratulations, Zayde!

Daddy Background said...

Ken -

Despite that you're a complete stranger, thousands of miles away AND this stuff happens all the time, you managed to make me very happy for you. I'm grinning like a fool. Ain't the internet weird? Congratulations! And I'll be over Wednesday to see the pictures. Is Wednesday okay?

(Very happy for you and your family.)

- Ken

Jeannie said...

Thrilled Rebecca's already rocking a Red Sox cap. Congrats to Big Papi and the whole Levine crew!

Earl Boebert said...

Grandchildren are God's reward for not murdering your offspring.

Rashad Khan said...

Congratulations to the family Levine!

Hollywoodaholic said...

Congratulations, Papi Levine!!

B.A. said...

Congrats, and you'd make a fine grandpa, counseling against Housemaid's Knee and Jugglers Despair.

Curt Alliaume said...

Many congratulations!

Neal Grinnell said...

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VP81955 said...

I'm thrilled for you. Now just pipe in Vin over the next four months and film it, so she can tell her grandkids she listened to him.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

MAZAL TOV! May your entire family enjoy the sounds of laughter.

David G. Whitham said...

Congratulations!!

LinGin said...

Mazel Tov to the entire mishpocha!

Amy said...

What a happy read. Congratulations to all.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Question to anyone with the experience....

What's the difference between an In and Out vs a Carl's Jr?
Never been to either (don't think they have any east of the Mississippi).

They are mentioned so often in TV or Movies...

Pete Grossman said...

Beautiful. Sweet. And surely worth the flight to Mars. Mazel Tov.

emily said...

Wow Gramps, that is a PRETTY baby. Congrats!

Stuart said...

"The first child you race up 300 miles; by the fourth child you’re on Skype."

Close. You're on Skype by the second. For the fourth, it's "Text me when you have a name."

Mazel Tov Ken!

Michael said...

Congratulations, and I say you go for Grandpa Walton and teach her how to drink the recipe.

The Curmudgeon said...

Congratulations, Grandpa. It's the best club I ever joined, or ever will join.

Good luck being called "Big Papi," Zayde. Rebecca will name you when she decides to talk. I was kind of hoping for "Honored Ancestor." My oldest granddaughter named me "Grampy" instead. According to my wife, Grampy is a conflation of Grampa and Grumpy. If the shoe fits....

And don't fret about being useless. Of course we're useless -- we're grandfathers! No one ever counts on our being around when the grandkids finally come. My grandfathers were long dead before I was born. But when we happen to survive long enough to meet our children's children (and I intend to go on meeting them for some time) our designated job is comic relief. You are perfectly positioned for this.

Congratulations to you and your wife and your son and your daughter-in-law. But just one thing... the word you wanted was "swaddling," not "straddling."

Howard Hoffman said...

I just saw Rebecca's Netflix pilot that she posted on her new video blog. That kid has talent already. Congrats, Ken, Matt and Kim on the fourth generation Levine media empire.

benson said...

Beautiful. Congratulations to all.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Big Papi! It is a wonderful journey to be on. You get to spoil them and not deal with the repercussions because you get to hand them back to Mom and Dad.

The best thing EVER!

Pam, St. Louis

mmryan314 said...

Congratulations to all Ken. Beautiful baby - beautiful name.

Kirk said...

Congratulations.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Wonderful!

Terence Towles Canote said...

Congratulations!

John Hammes said...

Pictures say far more - and far more eloquently - than anything maudlin Hallmark, Facebook, Twitter, or Blab (no kidding, there is now a "Blab", these kids today).

Thanks for sharing: congrats, great happiness, and good fortune to all.

Igor said...

Congrats. And second congrats for being a grandfather who has more hair than his first-born grandchild.

As for "We could go to Yugoslavia in November for what the 300 mile flight to San Jose cost" - Is that the high season?

David said...

Mazel Tov! And while I'm sure your wife has many talents, any chance you meant she was good at "swaddling" babies, rather than (or in addition to) "straddling" them?

Roseann said...

"My wife, Debby, who was an amazing mom and has such a knack for straddling babies you’d think she made burritos at Taco Bell – stayed until yesterday. "

I think you really mean "swaddling babies". Thats how you make them look like burritos.

VincentS said...

Congratulations, Ken!

Daws said...

Welcome to the club! I have 3 granddaughters myself, 4, 6 and 7 years old. My "nickname" is Big Poppa D. They are my living, beating hearts.

sean said...

what a great and heartwarming post. congratulations Ken, enjoy being a grandfather.

Loosehead said...

Congratulations Ken. The first 5 years are the best, until they learn to answer back.
DaveG

Rich Shealer said...

Congratulations Ken! I'm sure we are all happy the birth didn't follow a typical sitcom's delivery.

@The Bumble Bee Pendant - To me In and Out is like McDonalds when the first opened. Simple menu delicious Burgers and Fries. It's my first stop when I go to Las Vegas. Some people say 5 Guys Burgers and Fries are similar, but I don't think so.

Carl's Jr. is a rebranded Hardee's. They are owned by the same company and use the same smiling star logo. I couldn't tell the difference the last time I was there.

Jim S said...

To quote Baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline. "I should have had the grandchildren first, they're so much more fun."

Congrats

suesea7 said...

Congratulations! Rebecca is beautiful - best wishes to the whole family. Enjoy!

Sue in Seattle

Bugdun said...

Congrats, and if you really want to have some fun down the road, spoil her into becoming a Yankees fan.

I did that with a great-niece and I cannot tell you how much fun it has been watching her aggravated/annoyed Red Sox fan father.

One of the highlights of my life, for sure!!

Gerry said...

Congratulations to all of the family, but...the f@$!#in' Red Sox??? Child abuse!

Andy Rose said...

Congratulations, Ken! I agree with the poster above about things already changing by the second grandbaby. Our first kid happened to be the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents, and it was like waiting for news of the new pope being chosen. They were here before the labor was over, even though they both live hundreds of miles away. For our second child (and their third grandchild), my wife's mother was literally asking her, "Are you sure you're actually in labor? Because I don't want to have to come all that way and then drive back."

Tudor Queen said...

Mazel Tov to you and your lovely family!

Kosmo13 said...

Since Rebecca is named after a Cheers character, I expect her first word will be "NORM!"

H Johnson said...

Much love and Aloha to you and your family. She's beautiful.

H Johnson

Victor Velasco said...

Congratulations! I've been a grandpa for two years and it's a blast

Jeff Maxwell said...

I hope you stopped in Gilroy for some garlic-flavored...everything.

Congrats.

gottacook said...

Congratulations on the new arrival. Nice to read some unalloyed good news.

On another topic, this might interest you - a local story here in suburban MD:

www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/three-suburban-guys-had-a-crazy-dream-to-create-a-sitcom-then-ed-asner-called/2016/05/30/de6364b8-20f2-11e6-9e7f-57890b612299_story.html

daniel in cherry hill said...

Mazal Tov!!!

Tammy said...

Congrats to all the Levines! Super cute baby you got there.

"One look at Rebecca and I was in love. They say that happens but no comedy writer believes that." A good opportunity to tell this story: when my husband and I decided to have a baby I was really scared. Then one day I caught the Frasier episode where Roz finds out she's pregnant, and she's feeling everything I'm feeling. So Frasier gives her a little speech, and it makes both her and me feel a little better. Then he says "you don't just love your children. You fall in love with them. It's that same rush, that same overwhelming desire to see them, to hold them, bore other people to tears with every detail about them." I thought, wow, and that really stuck with me. And guess what? That one's true too. (He's four now.)

Sam the Bard said...

Congratulations to you and your family, Ken. You've given the world enough joy with your gift of comedy writing (NOT ass-kissing, just telling the plain truth here) and it's great to see you and your family getting a big slice of that joy themselves. All the best to little Rebecca and the rest of your family.

Mike Barer said...

Mazel Tov!

SharoneRosen said...

I'm tellin' ya, go with Zaide! It's got much more geshcmacht in a punchline than Big Papi. Sure, it doesn't have a "K," but a "Z" is almost as funny.

Mazel tov Zaide!

Peter said...

Mazel tov, Ken! The photos are adorable. It's always nice to see good things happen to good people.

I'm sure you'll show this page to Rebecca when she's a little older, so:

Welcome to the world, Rebecca! Your grandfather is awesome, as I'm sure you'll know by the time you read this.

Johnny Walker said...

Congratulations! I'm due a nephew in September. The such relative. It's amazing to think there'll be another member of our family. I hope one day I get to have kids of my own.

LouOCNY said...

Many Congratulations to you and the family Ken!!

That Red Sox thing CAN be cured, however....

Allan V said...

Congratulations to you & yours, Ken -- she is beautiful little bundle of joy!

Tom said...

She's beautiful. Congratulations Ken!

Judy Hughes said...

Congratulations Papi and to the entire family. Hope that Kim is recovering fully. Rebecca is an absolutely gorgeous little girl. Obviously someone was reading Cheers scripts to her in the womb - great name. To a long and happy life!

VP81955 said...

Send her a cap with a curly "W"...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! She will have you wrapped around her finger in no time. Enjoy it. Think of all the great stories you can tell her. Janice B.

Lefty Phillips said...

Congrats ken , Watched the Dr. Winchester and Mr. Hyde episode you wrote for MASH, noticed in the credits the names of t he marines in the episode,, Grich, Solaita, Chalk, and Remy,,, wasnt that the angels infield at about the time the show was written? No wonder Sluggo lost !!!

Ken Levine said...

Good call, Lefty Phillips (former Angel manager). That was indeed the Angels' infield at the time.

Tom Galloway said...

Congratulations!

On the other hand, I recommend bypassing Kettleman City and going 29 miles further north to Harris Ranch and eating at either its steakhouse or cafe. More expensive than the fast food joints but significantly better (although I do prefer the Hitching Posts in the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara area over Harris, but they're on 101 and Harris is on 5)

Barry Traylor said...

Congratulations Ken. Rebecca is a real beauty.

Matt said...

Why is your son, who I assume grew up in LA, a Red Sox fan? If he was going to choose a team not in LA he could at least gone with the Mariners, whom you called games for. It is somewhat traitorous.

Oh, and congrats on the kid.

Jim said...

In-N-Out buy all their meat from Harris Ranch, so you're eating the same stuff just without inhaling it first.

P.S. congratulations. And I really really hope that the kid wasn't named after the Cheers Rebecca.

Richard said...

Congrats! Go Red Sox!

estiv said...

Congratulations, Ken. When you post a picture of yourself you're frequently smiling, but I don't know if there's ever been one where you're so clearly happy.

Tom Asher said...

Congratulations!

DC said...

Congratulations!

YEKIMI said...

Congrats! I assume you already have her first writing/directing job lined up somewhere down the road. Never got married so no kids from me [I know, you don't have to be married to have kids] which means no grandkids but I have plenty of nephews and nieces [I think 15 around the last count]. The nice thing is you can play with them for a couple of hours and than give them back to their parents.

B McMolo said...

Hey congratulations, Ken-and-the-fam!

And glad to see such enlightened taste in baseball fandom for three generations of Levines!

Goldendreams said...

Congratulations, Big Papi! It's the best job ever. Rebecca is a lucky little girl.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Rich Shealer said...
"Carl's Jr. is a rebranded Hardee's. They are owned by the same company and use the same smiling star logo. I couldn't tell the difference the last time I was there."

thanks for the information.
although, we don't have hardees either.

in time...in time...

Al said...

I was born and raised in Merced, CA the heart of the Central Valley. I'm very proud to come from there and all I can say about the aspersions you cast on it is . . .

You're 100% right. Nothing to see on Hwy 99 for hundreds of miles. You could have gone to my Uncle Jackie's house. He's got a pretty good size TV and a couple of dogs.

Congrats on the Grandson by the way!

cshel said...

Better late than never -- giant congratulations on your new grand baby, Ken! She's beautiful!

Dan Ball said...

Geez, Big Papi. Here I've been talking to you about A or B and didn't even realize you'd just had a grandbaby! Crap, I feel like a schmuck.

My ex-wife and I just had a baby back in February. She was born eight days before your birthday and eighteen before mine! Her name's Celia Josephine. Maybe she and Rebecca will be buds someday. Or Celia will be coming to Rebecca for writing advice. :)

Artie in Sin City said...

You ARE a loving a warm human being...

Congrats to you and all the family...

The Levine dynasty continues to grow...