Sunday, April 11, 2010

The grandfather's perspective

Grandfather.pngI never knew either of my grandfathers. My Dad's father died when he was just a year old. Mom's Dad died many years before I was born.

For most of my life, it wasn't an issue. But now, as I move into the years when I am looking forward to becoming a grandparent, I am more aware of stories of grandparents and their relationships with their children's children. I wonder whether my lack of experience with a grandfather will affect how I act as one.

It's funny how perspective changes everything. It wasn't that long ago that we were warning our kids to be careful. We didn't want any "accidents" to upset the order of their lives. Now, with all of them safely moving past their teens, we're suggesting that this would be a good time to start producing progeny, even if they're not settled down. No wonder kids complain about mixed messages.

I've always heard about how the grand role is different from a parent. Grands I know joke that the good thing is that you get to hand the crying baby back to the parents to handle. But there's obviously more to the relationship.

To be honest, I don't know what sort of grandfather I'm going to be. My own father enjoyed the role but he was not the type to gush about his feelings or let things get too emotional. You weren't always sure how much fun he was having. I suspect that he would have become close to his grandchildren as they got older. Unfortunately, that never happened.

I expect that when it happens, I'll be stunned by what happens. The birth of our son was like that. I was intimately involved in Heather's pregnancy and the preparations for the birth, especially because we were going to be at home. But when Cory arrived, the joy and wonder was unlike anything I'd ever felt before. Then it happened twice more, with the birth of Jaime and then Kelly.

Parenting in all its forms is always life-changing. You are constantly shaped and transformed by what you do and the results. I hope being a grandparent brings that same delight to my life.

Today I came across a moving article by a Victoria writer, Christine Shaw Roome, who wrote about the death of her grandfather at the age of 99. She writes about how her relationship with him evolved as she grew into her own life and learned more about his. They had a special relationship. That's what I'm looking forward to.

By the way, the blog that published Christine's story is called Life as a Human. It describes itself as "a lifezine that explores, celebrates and discusses the weird, wonderful, challenging, funny and poignant experience of being human." I recommend it.

I Don’t Buy the Argument: On Losing a Grandparent : Life As A Human

1 comment:

Sue Horner said...

Dave, thanks for the link to that lovely, heartfelt tribute to a grandfather. I'm sure you will make a fine grandpa yourself, someday, going by your reaction to your son's (and daughters') birth and the "proud papa" moments you've shared on your blog.