On Being A Grandpa
Our oldest daughter Caitlin, her husband Steve, and our two young grandsons Steven and Joseph recently were up for a visit. As they live about an eight hour drive from our home in New York, my chances to see them do not occur as often as I would like. Mary Jo, who is retired, does manage to fly down for more frequent visits. Between visits, we try to Skype (thank God for that technological advancement) as often as possible just to keep up on how the boys are changing.
While I certainly love seeing Caitlin and Steve, for me the hardest part about being a grandparent is the time between visits, and at their young ages of three and one years old, they seem to grow and change by the day. So every opportunity I get to see them I count as a special blessing.
This most recent visit was very special for me since they were here for almost an entire week. My previous times with the boys have usually been quick weekend visits for special occasions, which did not allow much time for just playing Grandpa. So this visit, I took a couple of days off from work just to have some extra “Grandpa time” with the boys. It was so much fun to hear the excited squeals of little voices in our home again. Watching Stephen, the oldest, run around the house and our backyard reminded me of when our own children would spend hours playing outside in the yard.
One particularly hot, sticky evening, we went to a friend’s home so the boys could go swimming in their pool. They loved it! Stephen was a little fish and we all came home refreshed for the evening.
Of course I still tell Caitlin that I “don’t do diapers” as I changed my fair share of them when our five children were young. That is my excuse for getting out of that sometimes smelly chore. However, truth be told, if I was the only one around I would not hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work that needed to be done. However, if Caitlin & Steve do read this, then I am “busted” and can no longer use that excuse to avoid diaper changes!
About mid-week Joseph ran a slight fever for a couple of days. One evening he was particularly uncomfortable and Caitlin just could not get him down to sleep, no matter what she tried. So I took him out to our back porch room, turned on the ceiling fan for a gentle cool breeze and sat in the rocker with him snuggled up in my arms. As we rocked I sang him a few songs I used to sing to the girls when they were little. Joseph just watched the ceiling fan go around and around and would look up at me with a peaceful and contented gaze. We listened to the evening sounds of the crickets, the breeze in the backyard trees and the creaking of the rocker. Eventually, his eyes began to droop and would close for just a second, before popping open again. After about 45 minutes of rocking, he finally drifted off into a sound sleep and I simply enjoyed every extra minute of holding this precious little one in my arms.
Eventually, Caitlin came back to check on us and we put Joseph in his crib for the night. She thanked me and said what a gift it was as she was simply worn out from trying to get him down to sleep. However, I reassured her that I was the one who was gifted, as this time I had just spent with my grandson was precious beyond compare. I felt like I finally had a chance to form a real connection with him. What a gift that was!
I am sure Joseph will never remember this time we had together, but I will cherish it forever!
I thank God every day for the gift of grandchildren. What a blessing they are.