Any day that begins with a trip to the mountains to babysit our 2 1/2 year old grandson is a good day. The fact that my daughter (on fall break from divinity school) and our senior in high school joined my wife and me made it even better.
It's a great day when you pull up to the house and upon opening the car door hear squeals of delight from inside the house; opening the front door you are greeted by a full-on onslaught by a Mickey Mouse PJ clad grandson, grinning from ear to ear!
It was a wonderful fall day in Boone. Our trip included the usual "spoiling" kinds of things: field trip to the farmer's market to buy some fresh goods (Jack gets to pay); a stop or two at some stores (usually resulting in some clothes or a book for Jack); lunch (the Mushroom has gone, but Panera was a great second choice), and of course, Saturday afternoon football on TV (he's a big fan).
Along the middle of the afternoon, after a not-so-successful nap (sorry Hallie), Jack and I went outside to enjoy the sunny day. Being guys, we had to take our swords.
For the next 30 minutes, we marched up the steps, along the top of the lawn, down to a bush, and killed the tiger. I was merely there to watch out for traffic; Jack had all this planned and carried it out with great intensity. Disclaimer: the swords are foam; Jack is really interested in animals; and he loves his dog Rosie. It's just a guy thing.
A guy thing - like a fascination with all things with wheels, especially big trucks and "bikies" - motorcycles. The trip to the store mentioned above netted Jack a new book about Tonka trucks - one that had a story and puzzles. He also spent a few minutes showing GrandBob how he could drive his John Deere tricycle all by himself. The last time I was there he wanted me to push him up and down the hill - now he's all Jack-powered.
These two activities - just part of a busy day - reminded me in some ways of times with my grandfather and also how my dad played with his grandchildren.
My paternal grandfather died before I was born; my maternal grandfather lived in Missouri, so I only saw him about once a year until I was in my late teens. Then he moved into the small apartment next to my house, where he lived for several years until he passed away. Anyway, a lot of my memories are of "Pappy" teaching me guy things: mostly fishing, a little hunting, playing cards. My dad had already done this (except the cards); it was Pappy's "job" since he had the time to expand on this "guy" knowledge.
My father was still working during my kids' early years. Even so, trips to Grandpa's house always included driving the mower; pumping gas at the gas station; feeding the birds; and reading books. Later when he retired and the kids were older those kinds of things continued.
So here I am in 2010, a GrandBob (twice) and it seems things are the same. The kids probably get more sugar, less sleep, and more attention than they should - but I don't remember it permanently damaging me or my kids, so who am I to break with tradition?
Some things do change though: today my 2 1/2 year-old grandson Skyped with his two week old cousin (well, pretty much Jack was doing the talking and watching; Lucy was sleeping most of the time). But he did get to see her and wish her a happy birthday (which is pretty astute for a 2 1/2 year-old, but hey, he's my grandson).
The point of all this long discourse: A lot has changed in the decades of grandparenting I've been a part of: first as a recipient, then as an observer, and now as a practitioner. But a lot remains the same:
Grandparents love their grandchildren, and through that love, cherish their children in a different way, as parents, and bearers of a legacy to a new generation.
It was a very fine day, indeed.