We look back in amazement at how quickly our title transitioned from father to grandfather! While it is difficult to stare into a baby's eyes and see the teen she will become, it really shakes your world when you look into your granddaughter's eyes and remember the newborn she was … just yesterday.
Like us, most grandparents live some distance from their kids. When we visit, we're in awe of how much our grandchildren have changed. (Of course, we haven't changed a bit.) Babies walk and talk, preschoolers pass exams, and middle schoolers too soon grab the keys to the car and off they go!
Just try and take credit, Gramps
As grandparents, we certainly don't want to stick our noses in our adult children's parenting business.
Wait! Sure, we do.
Admit it, Gramps. Wouldn't you love to know if your influence as a parent carried over to the relationship between your grandkids and their parents? "Son, your children listen so well." "Daughter, your children are amazingly polite and poised."
Funny, but your grown children aren't affirming your compliments. You're waiting for, "Gosh, dad, it's all thanks to you. You taught me with skill and patience and love and understanding how to listen to you and wait until it's my turn to speak—I'm just passing that virtue on to my kids. And by the way, thank you, dad, for molding me into the father that I am today." You're waiting for that affirmation—and it never comes.
"And dear daughter, Robbie and Robin—I'm so proud that they're my grandkids—helping around the house and doing their homework every night without being asked … they've no doubt had some wonderful role models." Then you wait for confirmation from your daughter. It never comes.
So, you play it over in your own mind. "Wait, role models. That would have been your mother and me. Ah shucks, we're glad we played such an essential role in the formation of your family." With no shame whatsoever, you nearly choke on your false modesty. "Don't mention it, honey." She doesn't.
Of course, if our grown children and their kids don't have a perfect relationship, it's because of those outside forces at work when we were in charge. Back then we had to ward off foreign menaces, fret about the latest international crisis, worry about national challenges. Wait a minute, we're still facing those!
Do you mean your darling kids talk back? They tell little fibs? They argue with each other and almost come to blows? Where did you get those kids?
Relax, dad and mom. We're just Gramps and Nana, missing our grandkids, wondering why you never come to our house. Okay, our assisted-living apartment. Okay, okay … our camper. Before our egos vaporize, check out the campaign for good parenting from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (https://www.fatherhood.gov). It's good stuff.
You can thank us later.