Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 1

As I sit here on this semi-cold early February evening, my mind is filled with all sorts of memories; mostly good, some not so good, and others, well, let’s just say that the jury is still out on those. Old photographs lay strewn across the dining room table as we reminisce of yesteryears of long ago. A couple old photographs even found themselves shared on Facebook, tagging their unsuspecting victims for all their friends to see, in what I like to think is a parental right to occasionally (lovingly) embarrass one’s children.

What is so special about tonight?

Well, before all is said and done, several lives will be forever changed. Before this night is through, or perhaps sometime tomorrow, my wife and I will be welcoming our first grandchild into life on planet Earth. Wow! As natural as next generations are in the human race, I still cannot believe it! Opa Will; Nana Ginny. Who ever would have thought it? As most of our own siblings and friends have long enjoyed grandparenthood, and some even great-grandparenthood, this joy has always eluded us; that is, until tonight. Yes, I expect our lives from here on forward will be forever changed. And, quite frankly, I look forward to it.

But it’s not all about us; obviously our daughter’s life and our son-in-law’s life will also be forever changed, as they both are about to venture out into parenthood. What a big responsibility is suddenly facing them. As someone once joked, grandparents can always give the child back; parents not so much. Still, I know and have the utmost faith that they will make wonderful parents.

Other lives will also suddenly be changed. Our son and daughter-in-law will suddenly have a nephew (yes, though we have not yet learned his name, we do know that this child soon to enter this world is a boy). How will that change their lives, remains to be seen, but apart from purchasing a few extra birthday and Christmas presents each year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, as this little boy grows, his uncle will occasionally have a new companion at a few Edmonton Oilers and/or Eskimos games. This too carries with it a big responsibility, but also some big-time fun.

I joked with some coworkers that the timing of his birth could not be better. After all, this Sunday coming up is Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m sure that Opa Will would love to share the big game with his new grandson. He may not be ready, however, for the chicken/habanero stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers and dip; standard Super Bowl fare in our house. Oh well, his Dad and Opa will have to look after them for him this year.

So here I sit, jumping every time the phone rings; is he here yet? Though he’s not born yet, he’s already taught me my first lesson: Life is about to drastically change, for all of us. But I don’t bemoan that; rather I’m up for the challenge of doing my part in helping to raise my grandson, and I eagerly look forward to it.

Now, how do those diapers go on again? It’s been a while.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons


  1. It's often said that becoming a grandparent is one of the biggest joys of getting older. Although the majority of experienced grandparents will affirm this opinion without hesitation, the outlook of becoming a grandma or grandpa can be frightening for first time grandparents.

    The joy of becoming a grandparent is not reserved to only a few; it's obtainable to every single one of us. There is no need for a grandparent to be of a definite age, enlightening level, and way of life or financial rank. Yet, just loving and caring for our offspring and grandchildren is not sufficient. The happiness comes from our understanding, creativity, liveliness, and fortitude to offer consistency and intention.

    For many, this joyful occasion may arrive too soon or too late. When becoming a grandparent occurs before your thirties or forties, it does not correspond with the probable schedule of life. The name ‘grandparent' is still associated with an older age and accepting it that early might be somewhat difficult. On the other hand, a grandchild arriving when you're in your seventies or eighties will confront your bodily endurance, restraining your vigor for active physical participation. Either way you have no control of when you will become a grandparent, so cherish the moment, face your limitations and embrace your new life status.

    Nothing prepares you for the incredible emotional experience when witnessing your child, who despite age is still your child, becoming a parent in his or her own right. It seems it wasn't that long time ago when it was you taking care of a little baby who now is all grown up and holding his or her own baby. For first time grandparents this can be a very emotional moment often accompanied by flashing memories of their own parenting past. At times it might be also difficult to accept the new realities but newborn grandkids have this magical way of ‘stealing' your heart and never giving it back to you – so, go for the ride.

    Becoming a grandparent is more than a tag or a label which you proudly display. First time grandparents will have to allow for some adjustments and life modifications. Whether your mature children are working moms or stay-at-home dads, be prepared to recognize their living alternatives. Raising children is more diverse now than when you were raising your kids, which reflects on your grand parenting role and responsibilities; be flexible and accept change.

    Be reasonable and realistic. This is your grandchild, not your child; don't look at raising it as ‘follow my parenting skills' option or worse, as a second ‘mercy' chance for your own parenting shortcomings. Being helpful will be always welcomed but leave parenting to the new parents and accept your role as a grandparent. Don't be hurt or disappointed if your grandchild appreciates more his mom's lullabies or his dad's smile. Building the grandchild-grandparent bond takes time and is essential for first time grandparents. It's a relationship on a totally different level than parenting and honestly it's much, much more fun!

    Becoming a grandparent for the first time is very emotional and also very unique. It can be stressful physically and psychologically but the experience is priceless and so very rewarding. Even though at times it might feel like that, please try to remember that the baby of your baby is not your baby – it's more, it's your grandchild.

  2. you are going to love this new change in your lives. You will find that there is love very different than the love you have for your grandson. God has called us to be grandparents. It is a role that no one else can fill. Blessing upon you both.