Call Me Grandpa

Three months ago my daughter proudly announced the arrival of Lucas – her son and therefore my grandson. He is her first child and more importantly our first grandchild! A cute little dude with big eyes and a smile that is going to get him into trouble when he grows up. He is already discovering the finer points of flirting.

It is hard to believe that little gremlin I used to carry in a backpack as we walked Capitola beach now has a gremlin of her own.

My daughter and her family live two hours south of us which is the perfect distance – close enough to reach via a moderate drive but not so close as to be easily accessible for short notice babysitting. Needless to say with the new addition we will likely head south more frequently – gotta be part of those memorable baby pictures.

It is exciting to be a grandpa. Years ago my wife and I talked about having grandkids. “Sometime down the road it will be wonderful.” Well that road has now been traveled and here we are.

As a novice grandpa I look forward to sharing new experiences with Loo, seeing the world through his eyes and being part of his excitement at all things new.

Sharing first time experiences

Loo (currently four months of age) recently visited Target for the first time and was pretty much overwhelmed – in a good way. The sights and sounds and smells, the chattering people – all interested in getting a closer look at him – and the bright colors, everything new and everything  exciting. I am sure his little heart was fluttering at full speed as he tried to take in all the stimuli. And we are only talking about a visit to Target!

I imagine his first visit to the zoo and the amazement he will feel with so many crazy and diverse and noisy critters to see.

What about his first taste of cotton candy? A gossamery wisp of sweetness that melts as it touches your tongue.

Something as simple as feeding a bluebird in the backyard will be an adventure for the first time feeder.

And his first pickle! Pickles are a tradition in our family. It is not unusual to see any of us comfortably seated in front of the TV whittling away at a massive dill. I await his expression when he first chomps into a juicy gerchin.
I believe seeing new experiences through the eyes of my grandson will allow me to appreciate the little things that much more. Everyday occurrences that become mundane can transform into miraculous events when realized from the perspective of a novice. Thank you in advance Loo for setting me straight.

A Grandpa’s responsibility

Parents have a tough job when it comes to raising children. Their job is 24/7. The child’s safety and future is in their hands. The person they will become is hugely determined by the example parents provide. Likes and dislikes, hopes and aspirations, prejudices and beliefs, all will be mirrored in the little person, that chip off the old block.

As a grandpa I survived the day-to-day stresses that come with providing for a family. Free of that burden I can focus on what matters most – at least in my opinion. I would share three wisdoms gleaned from my 61 years on this Earth:

Treat others the way you want to be treated – an oldie but goodie and applicable to all things. You are never too young to start living this.

Find something you love and follow it – in the end it is better to look back on a life spent doing what you are passionate about rather than tallying your bank balance. My son has worked his butt off for the past seven years to get a full time job caring for animals in the zoo. He majored in zoology and in a very competitive job market has shed blood, sweat and tears working for free or close-to-free to get his foot in the door. He recently secured a full time job at the Oakland Zoo and we are all ecstatic. It’s not just about money – it’s about getting up each morning looking forward to your day. Loo, take a lesson from your uncle and follow your dream.

Listen – with your mouth shut and your ears open it is amazing what you might learn. Chief Luther Standing Bear said,”Silence grants a space before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that thought comes before speech.” You cannot listen if you are talking.

We have been grandparents for four months. As a newbie to the game I can say that the experience is all we could have hoped for and imagined. Each smile on that little face brings an immediate smile to this old mug. To me there is no sweeter sound than his cooing whispers after a good meal, living in the moment without a fear in the world. It may have taken a while to get here but grandparenthood is good. We look forward to sharing what tomorrow brings in the everything-new never a dull moment life of our first grandson.

In honor of grandparents

Are you one of those people fortunate enough to have had time to spend with your grandparents? Were you perhaps the lucky recipient of stories of the “old days” when men were men and life was good, when a dime user to buy a three-course dinner and “junk bonds” was not even in our vocabulary, when your word was your bond and trust was a given? Did you gaze at that wrinkled visage atop a body that seemed in a perpetual state of shrinking never quite knowing what would next escape their puckered mouth? 

Grandmothers are just antique little girls. ~Author Unknown

Grandparents – we all had them but not all of us were able to experience first-hand what they had to offer. Often gone before our time, we get by on pictures and scattered stories telling us of their lives. And you know there is a quite a conglomeration of stories when our parents crack a quick smile as they gaze off into the past and relive special moments. Memories a plenty I am sure because if they were anything like my parents, they had to have been characters. 

My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world.  And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too. ~Gene Perret

We occasionally hear how something we do reminds others of a grandparent. It could be a simple expression or it could be the way we turn a particular phrase. It may be something as insignificant as the way we walk or as important as the way we treat a fellow human being. We sound like or look like or act like Grandpa Jacob – if we had only had a chance to meet him face to face.

Grandparents are similar to a piece of string – handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren. ~Author Unknown

I was fortunate enough to spend time with my dad’s mom who lived into my college years. We shared many weekends together at family events as she lived only 40 minutes away. I clearly remember visits when we would stay up late and watch old movies while gnawing on a pickle the size of a meatloaf. I remember her dry sense of humor, her love of bridge, her evil hissing black cat who allowed no one near except Gram, and  her playing the piano while brave family members stepped up to sing along. I remember when my family and I were on vacation in Maui and we got the news that Gram had passed on. And I remember the emptiness that I felt wondering what had been the last thing I said to her while she was on this earth. I sure hope it ended with “I love you”.

A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television.  ~Author Unknown

Grandparents know it all but generally prefer to dole out wisdom slowly. They could overwhelm us with why something should be one way because their experience tells them so. The focus of their attention could be to correct each and every character flaw and mistake the grandkids make. But loving  grandparents take the high road and just smile knowing that no one is perfect but if there was a grandchild even close to perfection it would be theirs.Leave the discipline to the parents – grandparents get to spoil and then return grandchildren when the day is done. 

When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window.  ~Ogden Nash

Those of us who lived part of our lives along side our grandparents are blessed. Looking back I think we realize that. And I hope by our actions and deeds that our children learn to respect and treasure and experience their grandparents while they are here. The reality is we will all one day be grandparents and it sure would be nice to be appreciated and loved in a like fashion.

I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather – not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car. ~Will Shriner

To grandparents everywhere…