Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

A s the time draws closer to the moment that I become a grandmother for the first time, I am finding new joys in simply watching children. For the first time in years I notice newborns everywhere and am awed by them. They are with moms at the grocery store, with families eating at restaurants, sleeping soundly in strollers that navigate around the booths at the farmers market. And each one is beautiful.

Their translucent skin, cherub-like cheeks and precious smiles make me anxious for that moment when I will hold my arms out and my son or daughter-in-law will hand me that bundle to hold. I well up with tears when I reflect on what it all means.

I am emotional, I suppose, because with my grandchild's birth comes a certain passage. As she enters this world, I step one more day closer to leaving it. I am not being morbid. It's true. It's the circle of life.

In the lineage of women in my family-my great-grandmothers, my grandandshy;mothers, my mother and me-my unborn granddaughter represents the next generation. We anticipate that she will be a little like us, but hopefully with just our best traits. We expect her to reach high, work hard, be truthful, fair and passionate about the things she believes most in. We hope that she is strong, confident, never fearful or alone, and stays safe for a hundred years. As I wait to meet her, I find myself packing her bags with some of my dreams.

Last week I had the honor and privilege of being a judge for the

Miss Del Norte Scholarship Competition. This year seven young women

participated, many more than in the last two years that I judged. I was

on a panel with four other judges who had to grade each participant on

talent, poise, communication, academic achievement, etc. Once again I

was overwhelmed by the accomplishments of our local young women. As one

judge put it, "With youth like this, we have nothing to worry about."

I listened to them sing and watched them dance. They answered

questions and smiled. I looked into their eyes and thought about my

granddaughter. Might she be like one of these girls?

One consistent theme that the seven participants shared was a desire

to help others. One wants to be a doctor. Others want to teach. Every

one of these young women had a plan to make the world a better place. I

hope my granddaughter works toward a career that will make a difference

in people's lives.

It's very premature to imagine what my granddaughter will be like

at 8 months, 8 years or 18, but I will be very proud if she possesses

some of the qualities I saw in these young women I met last week.

Congratulations to each and every one of the Miss Del Norte

Scholarship participants. It was a pleasure meeting you and spending

time with you. I hope that when my granddaughter is your age she will

radiate with the intelligence, charm, charisma and compassion you

demonstrated to me. If I had a crystal ball I'd love to look ahead 20

years and be able to see what you're all accomplishing and how my

granddaughter is keeping up.

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate's publisher at 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.