Get your tissues ready. Cliff is going to melt your heart………
I have indeed, fallen head over heels in love with my granddaughter and the idea that I am a grandfather.
We raised three children into adulthood and all are (fairly) normal and healthy, quirky individuals who have made life an interesting, challenging and rewarding event. Then I was thrown an early curveball by my daughter when she got pregnant.
I was there the day Hailey was born, just not at that particular moment, I do have my limits. I was there when she was ten months old and received her first stitches, daddy had to work. In fact I have been there for just about every major event in her three year presence on the earth. Sometimes it’s hard and painful (the stitches event almost had me in tears), but I wouldn’t change anything. Watching and helping her grow has been an amazing journey so far.
When our kids were kids we had rules and guidance that constantly changed and flowed depending on the circumstances and which kid we were dealing with. Hell, we were kids ourselves and were learning too.
With Hailey we have all that experience and knowledge that we can rely on and use. We also have the grandparent factor in our favor so if we don’t feel like imposing something or denying her something we can just fluff it off. What can mom and dad do yell at us? Maybe but probably not.
The thing that really gets me is that Hailey does things that remind me so much of when her mother was her age. Delaying potty training because she felt like it, correcting us when we drop a bad word, even if that word was ass. She gets a dead serious look on her face and says “Hey, watch your mouth.” her mother in a nutshell.
We got the cute and cuddly time when she was a baby, the trying times when she was climbing and learning to walk (she never did crawl much, Lianna again). Now we are in the time when she is doing things for herself, the independent streak. She tries and tries gets flustered and tries again and more often than not she will succeed.
She is slowly changing the environment she lives in and pushing for what she wants and desires. This is the time I love to see. Hailey is making her own world out of what we give her. I watched all of my kids do this and I was astounded every time but now I can step back and really watch and help her do it. Now I don’t have two other kids either doing the same and stepping on each other’s toes or trying to tear down the things their siblings are building.
Part of the problem of being a parent is fear of totally screwing up and ruining or even hurting the child. This doubles or even triples at times with a child who is not your own. That previous sentence? When I typed it, it seemed wrong but it’s true.
Grandchildren are not our children; they are the gifts of being a successful parent. Fostering a strong family with strong values and love gives back eventually and that is what we are seeing now.
Our youngest son is in Florida with his lovely wife and they are planning on having a child soon. The closeness that we enjoy now with Hailey will not be there when they do finally have a child simply because we are not there. Part of me hurts when I think of that but it’s a fact. Our advantage we have to play will be the distant grandparents that will visit and spoil every chance we get. I had a great uncle like that and still miss him every day.
Being a grandparent causes additional stress and makes you think about things a lot differently. I wonder what her world will be in twenty years and hope I will be here for her then too. I worry more about her parents and how and what they are doing and hope they are making wise choices with their family as a focus point. I see the school system and worry about her future education. I have always been the kind of person that eschews traditional learning of details and facts. I have always believed that there are enough testing students in the world and not enough thinkers. Schools today teach to tests and our students are falling into the abyss.
The economy is bad, the environment is rapidly changing and things are volatile all over and I worry that there are even worse things coming, parenthood all over again but magnified!
Then we give her a tubby, put her in her big girls and pajamas and we cuddle up to settle down for bed and the world seems a million miles away, everything is all right, except for the ribs burning to a crisp that were for tomorrow’s picnic.
– is a father of three and grandfather of one. Conservative libertarian and all around nice guy, most of the time.