Friday, July 29, 2011

Grandparent Love; An answer for Modern Day Redneck

My friend, you recently asked me a question concerning grandparents and if we treat them differently than we did our children and if we love them more. Your question has been difficult for me. Since you posted I've had to dig deep into my soul, so to speak, for the clarity of an answer.

My credentials, I feel, are sorely lacking for this task, I am not a polished writer. I am a simple but well read man; if pressed I could explain Balzac's coffee habit and how he preferred its preparation, why I believe Hemingway was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and that James Lee Burke is the best prose stylist writing today; but I am not a writer, nor do I hold credentials in any science dealing with human behavior or complexities of the mind. I can only answer as a grandfather that loves his grandchildren. With that said, here goes.

The short answer is yes, we do. As with all simple answers the greater truth is more complicated. My friend this great love has been molded from our life experiences, for what are we if not the sum total of the life we have lived. We, the grandparents, see our grandchildren through the lenses of time.
We have with age grown patient, where we as parents held little restraint in punishment of our children, we now restrain from such actions with our now mature innate sympathy. Grandparents give freely of our time, even those of us that still work fifty hour weeks.
As young people we dealt with the daily grind of life; we worked hard to make ends meet, fought the battle of debt, mortgages, seeking the next dollar in the non-ending fight of clothing and feeding our children.

Young parents feel and are trapped in the time spanking daily routine of modern life, they wake to an alarm clock, shake off a partial night of sleep, hit the shower and grind all day. Then it is home to, hopefully, a meal, and then find themselves lost in the void of television while their precious gifts of God (our grandchildren) wait for just a moment of their attention.
Most, not all, parents are lost to the gift God has awarded them. There are exceptions of course. I know a few gifted parents, parents with maturity and enough common sense, like you, to appreciate the young ones. Even still, their love will never match, in my humble opinion, that of the grandparents. This love must be experienced to be understood. Repeating myself here, I know. Yet it's a fact I must grind home.

It is very hard, to nearly impossible, to explain to you how much and why I love my grandchild, Little Bit. What I can do, in my simple way, is try and paint a picture of how I feel. This will not be easy for me. Please, I ask again forbearance.

Without complaint or excuses I have lived a hard life. Many of us have. We deal with it or cowboy up as you Texans say. I once had an extremely short fuse. I wasn't a mean person nor hard to deal with on a daily basis. I just had a few rough edges. I seldom suffer fools, but back then it was best if they'd stay outside my range. During my years in the service I'd fight at the drop of a hat. Not a proud period of my life.
Then Sweet Wife and my son came into my life. I worked hard and gave them the best life I could. We as a family were fairly successful. Yet, I wasn't happy with my life, oh, I had my moments but still, I felt incomplete. I was stuck. My spirit was somewhere in Idaho or western Montana and here I was with my roots sunk deep in Florida.

Then, six years ago, Little Bit was born. Little Bit changed me. When I first took her into my arms my soul was set free.
My rough edges were worn bone smooth. I found myself slowing down. I didn't yell or scream or have the inclination to bust somebody's head. I've always been a protective person but now my senses and awareness of any danger for this little gift of God went into overdrive. I felt true love unlike any in my life. 

I take time with my granddaughter and I listen to her. I allocate time for her games. I freely hand out the kisses and hugs, and more importantly, I tell her I love her. I do this, my friend, because I'm older, wiser, and like I said, I see her through the lenses of time with love few young people (and her parents) will ever understand.

My son and daughter-in-law have a bad habit of ignoring Little Bit which to a degree is understandable as they now have my nine month old grandson in their home. My wife and I tried to explain the need to share their love and not forget the fact they had another child which would need equal attention.
As is the case with most thirty year old people they have listened, smiled, and with the full knowledge they are far more intelligent than Dad and Mom, ignored our advice. While at her home, Little Bit suffers in silence. She's stuffed away in her room with her toys not unlike a mushroom. This, kills my soul.

An example of the difference between grandparents and parents. Remember I love my son with all my heart, he's a fine young man, just young. My son works hard, puts in very long hours, but with this mini-depression which we all suffer, his funds are limited and he's very frugal. Stay at home wife and all too....

This past Christmas Sweet Wife and I, with understanding their Christmas would not be very merry and bright, went out and purchased extra, over the top, gifts for our grandchildren. We wrapped them and placed them under our family room Christmas tree. My wife insists we have two trees in our house. She places one, a fake but nice tree, in our formal living room next to the fireplace and a live tree in our family room across from our other fireplace.
Every Christmas we have our son and his family over for Christmas dinner. They have their little gift exchange at home then drive over later in the morning. Last Christmas my wife was in the kitchen baking or some such when they arrived. I answered the door. All, with the exception of Little Bit, went straight to the kitchen. Little Bit ran to our living room and dropped down in front of our fake tree. We do not place gifts there. I could hear her softly cry.

I walked over and sat next to her and gathered her into my arms, asked, "What's wrong Sweetheart?"

She turned a little tear wet face up to mine and said, "Papa, Santa didn't come to my house and I only got two little dolls and some candy." The little girl thought her Christmas was over and that Santa had forgotten her.

So, I, fighting back my tears too, said, "Little Bit." 
"What, Papa."
"Why don't you walk into the family room and take a look under Papa's tree. Did you forget I asked Santa to come to Papa's house instead of yours."

The words were barely out of my mouth when she ran. Then, a scream of pure joy.

For the rest of the morning she would ask me how did Santa know she wanted this or that and isn't this the best dollhouse ever. I have it all on DVD.

My love for her runs deep and I would freely give my life for this little girl.

My friend, I hope this answers your question and please forgive me if it comes across as silly or overly dramatic. I tried.

(Note: I've written this in my office at my business. It's taken several hours since I find myself jumping up and down helping my customers. Please excuse any typing errors and edit work as I just haven't the time. Thank you)


Don't Say I Didn't Warn You.

Stolen from