You’ve heard me mention my mom on here numerous times.  My mom and I did this, my mom said that, my mom, my mom, my mom.  But you haven’t heard too much about my dad.  What is it like for my dad?  He’s a grandpa now and he’s going through a major milestone in his life too.  He must have an opinion on the subject, right?  Well, my dad breaks his silence today.  I call him dad, but Ellie knows him as “gramps.”  Here’s his story.

THE STORY OF ELLIE AND GRAMPS

Children, they are gifts from God.  Even though I was a foot taller and had a full head of hair before we had our children.  (Just kidding)  My wife and I were blessed with two sons.  The first was born on Father’s Day.  Wow…. quite the Father’s Day gift.  My wife was hoping for a daughter but a few years later we were blessed with another son.  Both of our sons were basically good kids.  Aside from the occasional incident like the egg tossing event.  This is when our oldest decided it would be fun to toss eggs across the street towards the neighbor’s house.  And the other time that both of the little darlings were on the patio smashing Match Box cars with hammers.  (little toy cars for those of you younger folks).  When asked what the heck they were doing, they replied that they were making a junk yard.  Gotta have realism.

Raising our boys went pretty well.  We had heard from some of our friends that had both boys and girls, that boys were easier to raise.  We heard those stories about raising girls.  A sweet little thing hanging with Dad, the apple of his eye and then one day, she comes down stairs dressed like Madonna.  Then the first boy friend.  From 3 years old to 15 overnight.  “You think you are going out of the house dressed like that!?”  Now, I’m not saying that these stories are true.  I am not really in a position to confirm, or deny any these stories, good or bad, about raising girls.  Still, you have to wonder.  Anyway, our sons grew up, went to college, and got married to wonderful ladies.  Notice that I did not say girls.  Ladies implies that the story part of their lives is behind them.  While there was a great deal of joy in seeing our sons grow and leave the nest, there was also a little pain.  The role as a parent had changed.  Now what?

So life goes on and one day, one of your “gifts from God”, has something to tell you.  We’re EXPECTING.  Expecting?  Expecting what?  The gas bill? A new neighbor?  The pizza dude?  Expecting what?  OOhhhh….. you’re EXPECTING!  Expecting, the other word for pregnant.  Pregnant sounds so harsh.  Dogs, cats and animals get pregnant.  But my son and his wife, were expecting.  Whoa….  this is a game changer.  We’ll have to sharpen up on the old skills again.  Learning baby babble, spit rag technique, and burping.  And so the story of Ellie & Gramps begins.

There was of course, a great deal of excitement leading up to the blessed event.  WE even got to make a “baby’s room” too.  My wife would be on the lookout for good deals on anything baby.  Baby clothes, baby diapers, baby toys, baby stuff, anything baby.  I would think about how cool it was going to be, being a grandparent.

I have a few friends that are already grandparents.  One of them is a grandparent 10 times and I had many conversations with him given his level of experience.  He had shared valuable tips on getting on the good side of your grandchild.  For example, letting them jump in a mud puddle while wearing their good clothes.  “Hey, you can jump in the mud and get all dirty when you’re with Gramps”.  My father taught my oldest son how to break glass Christmas ornaments hanging on the Christmas tree by flicking his finger at them.  Tink…. tink….. smash! Thank you Dad.  Anyway seriously, I had this picture in my mind of how it would be with my granddaughter Ellie.  Picture a forest at dawn.  The sun breaking through the trees, dew still dripping from the leaves.  By the way, we are speaking of a forest, not the woods.  Bambi lives in the forest, the Big Bad Wolf lives in the woods.  Do NOT, confuse the two.  Music is playing in the background.  I’m not sure how music is playing in the forest but music was playing.  Morning Mood from Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg.  (If you’re not familiar, Google it, it really helps set the stage).  Anyway, back to the forest.  Bambi is running around, the birds are singing, the chipmunks are scurrying, the squirrels are hunting nuts, and all is well with the world.  And there she was, not even a day old.

This did take some getting used to.  I kept thinking that I was going to break her.  I could see the headlines.  “Man arrested for breaking baby in 3 pieces.  Says he didn’t mean to. ” This was our very first meeting.  What a day.  Maybe I could read her a good zombie story.  This would be great.

As time went on, we started to settle into our new role as grandparents.  The baby handling came very easy to my wife.  I had to work at it a bit.  I didn’t want to see those headlines.  About one week passed, and I was wondering if she should be speaking yet.  “Come on…  can you say Gramps?… Ummm, maybe tomorrow.”  Anyway, I could see the relationship growing even at those early days.  I would walk into the room, her eyes would catch mine and a little bit of a smile would appear on her face.  Yea, I know.  You’re thinking that I was just imagining it.  But I swear it was true.

My wife started to baby sit Ellie after a while.  Here was when things started to get weird.  It seemed as though my wife had become, as Matt had put it, BABY CRACK.  She was like a drug to Ellie.  I on the other hand, was becoming an OUTCAST.   When our eyes met now, there was no longer a smile.  As I would get closer, there was a definite rejection.  Maybe it was the water.  “Are they using filtered water?” I wondered.  Things progressed downward rapidly.  Was this a possession?   Do we need a priest?  It finally got to the point that when I entered the room, she would go full wail!!!  Picture a volcano, red molten lava spewing upward hundreds of feet.  Another selection from Peer Gynt Suite is In The Hall of the Mountain King.  (Again, if you are not familiar, Google it.  It really helps set the stage for the wail sessions).

This really started to tug at me.  Actually, it became quite hurtful.  Some told me that this was normal and it would soon pass.  Well, it did not pass soon, and the hurt continued.  I was convinced that this would go on until she was about 11 or 12.  I would have about one good year with her and then when she turned 13, she would think everyone was an idiot and I would be back at square one again.

So, my son, his wife, and my wife worked at it with every opportunity.  They would bring her over to me when she was in a very good mood.  They would try to get her to let me hold her or just get near her.  There was progress.  If my wife and I were in the room with Ellie, all would be fine.  As soon as the BABY CRACK LADY left the room and Ellie realized it, the dreaded event would begin.  First the look of where’s Grandma?  Followed immediately by a downward roll of the lower lip.  Then pulsating of the cheeks, (facial cheeks), then wrinkling of the brow and finally, full wail.

We continued to work at it.  We had strategy sessions and developed plans of attack.  We used white boards and Auto Cad.  Things did get better.  But then, there was the tease.  Ellie was writing with a pen on paper at the table.  Actually, writing is probably stretching the concept just a bit.  She was making marks on paper with a pen.  She looked up at me and smiled.  She then offered the pen to me.  As I reached out to take it, she immediately pulled it back.  I almost thought I heard her chuckle.  “CHUMP!”

Well, a little more time went on and Gramps appears to be OK now.  Ellie loves to be chased and really likes making faces with Gramps.

I even get hugs and kisses now!  Being a grandparent is very rewarding.  I hope that you find it to be, when it’s your turn.  Maybe “those stories“, aren’t really true at all.

3 thoughts on “GRAMPS, STEP UP TO THE MIC

  1. Such a cute story! loved it! Zayna cried all the time with my dad at first too, and now they are literally best friends….so glad it all worked out! =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *