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A few minutes’ peace with a baby’s cry

A little cry quickly brought me back to reality last weekend.

Holding the newest Speer to enter this world, Abigail Louise, quickly reminded Grandpa he needed to pay more attention to this little bundle of joy cradled in his arms.

It was a wonderful feeling, holding her, looking into those beautiful eyes and dreaming about the life ahead for this precious little one.

Earlier, her 3-year-old sister and I played Legos, constructing wonderful castles where Hannah would share with me remarkable stories about the people who lived inside the castle’s walls. I was thinking this wonderful big sister probably would someday grow up to be an architect, as, brick by brick, a Lego structure that would rival any medieval wonder was being assembled.

As I sat there gently rocking this newest miracle in my arms, I couldn’t help but reflect on what the world would look like 20 years from now, as both would be beginning that transition from teenager to adult.

A few days later, back in Alpena and reading my newspaper over a cup of coffee, I read with interest a story indicating that Michigan’s population had stopped growing and it even seemed a possibility that the state could lose another congressional seat after this year’s census figures are compiled.

Indeed, Michigan lost one seat after the 1980 census, two after the 1990 census, and one after the 2000 and 2010 census counts.

The Associated Press story reported that, while Michigan’s population gains have been impressive in recent years (10,958 in 2018 and 22,543 in 2017), it still lags behind numbers being posted in other states during that same period. As the national trend shows families having fewer pregnancies these days, that doesn’t help Michigan’s standing much — especially since Michigan was the only state to lose population between 2000 and 2010, according to the report.

Worse, from my perspective, was another story — this one from Bridge Mangazine, whose author, Mike Wilkinson, ran the statistics and wrote “what’s worse: Early data indicate those who leave the state tend to be younger and more educated, exactly the sort of residents Michigan leaders want to attract.”

That fact is so true, and it is that fact which concerns me about my grandchildren.

I was fortunate when my oldest son graduated from college, as he began his career in Gaylord and later started his family there. For years and years, my wife and I were both “far enough” yet “close enough” to be a significant part of those two grandchildren’s lives.

When they moved to Ohio last year because of his work, it had a huge impact on Diane and me.

On the other hand, my youngest son and his wife, after graduation from college, first moved to Minneapolis, then to Madison, before two summers ago relocating back to Michigan in the Detroit area. It was at their home where I held little Abby and pondered what the world had in store for her, her sister and her cousins.

I have experienced this movement in and out of the state from both perspectives, and, trust me, I want Michigan to be as competitive as it can to keep as many talented families as we can here.

Oh, I loved visiting Minneapolis and Madison a lot. And visiting Northwest Ohio today is interesting, as well. But I wish all my family was back in Michigan and within a few hours’ driving distance for all of us.

I want my granddaughters to follow their dreams, be happy, and reach for the stars in all that they set out to accomplish.

I expect I am no different than any other grandpa.

So, let the politicians haggle, the enemy flex their muscle, and the angry continue their protests in this world today.

Holding my granddaughter last weekend, all time stood still for me.

Thanks to a little baby’s cry, I was reminded again about all that is precious, and right, in this world.

For a few minutes at least, there was peace in my world.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.