This week, my Dad is stepping in and writing the blog. When I was young, I could barely write a sentence, but my Dad worked with me on my writing skills. Now I get paid to write for a living. Thank you Dad!
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!
"Never have children, only grandchildren." - Gore Vidal
A few weeks ago, our daughter Lisa asked if I would be interested in writing her blog one week. I was skeptical at first because her weekly missives deal with her experience as a mom who started a family later in life. She asked that I provide her readers with my perspective on being a grandparent and assured me that I would do just fine. So for better or worse, here are some thoughts from a grandfather who became one also later in life.
Probably one of the most exciting things about being a grandparent is watching your child become a nurturing parent. The arrival of Cooper Witek a little over four years ago was truly a miracle to both Grandma Mary Ann and me. We had been married for almost forty years and had seen the happiness on our friends' faces when they described the wonder of their grandchildren. To be quite honest about it, we sometimes wondered whether or not Lisa and her spouse, Ken, would ever raise a family. They had their careers and often raised some serious doubts about whether or not they would be good parents. Both Mary Ann and I knew they were a wonderful couple and assured them that they would be extraordinary parents. That they have proven to be.
We watch with pride and sometimes a bit of trepidation as Lisa and Ken do their best to raise two happy, healthy offsprings in Cooper and younger brother, Cole. It's a demanding job, given their work schedules and how active the lads are. We want to help and to the extent, when called upon to do so, we do. If nothing else, we can be that sympathetic ear to listen to an upset parent when the going gets rough. Last weekend was Lisa's birthday, and we were able to babysit for Coop and Cole. It gave Lisa and Ken a night off, if only for a few hours. As grandparents, we relish the opportunity to step in and look after our grandkids. That's the kind of valuable support we can offer and it was lot of fun.
Both Mary Ann and I take our role as grandparents seriously. We know we have a lot to give and want to assist our daughter and her husband as best we can. But our role is not to advise and criticize even though it might be painful at times to see them going through the trial and error of parenthood. Sometime it's difficult to sit there and be quiet but it's the right thing to do. We can best help Lisa and Ken and indirectly our grandchildren by letting them know we are willing to listen and glad to offer the wisdom of our experience when they want it.
On rare occasion, Lisa and Ken will do something we feel so strongly about that we might be tempted to intervene right then and there. I must confess that I still have some strong reservations about their raising the lads as vegetarians to this point. But as grandparents, we realize that we must respect their parenting. It always helps to remember that as parents, we made more than our share of mistakes when Lisa and her two brothers were little, and we had to learn to do better with the passage of time. Thank God, our parents and grandparents let us learn on the job.
But enough talk about the responsibilities of being a grandparent. We both love being grandparents. I don't think either of us really understood how profound the experience is. To watch Coop and Cole's eyes widen and their smiles when we are linked together in that special bond is priceless. Whether we are reading a story together, playing in the park or eating some birthday cake, these are precious moments to treasure. As grandparents, we have an advantage. We can be tolerant, loving and supportive without having to discipline as parents do. We can see all the good things in our grandsons and ignore the bad for the most part. Thanks to Cooper and Cole, we may appear sometimes to be old on the outside, but we are young on the inside.
"On the seventh day, God rested. His grandchildren must have been out of town." - author unknown.