Thoughts on Becoming a Grandfather

October 25, 2016

Thoughts on becoming a grandfather

It is hard to live life without making mistakes and having regrets. Each stage brings new challenges and opportunities, and sometimes even a second chance, a do over, or for all you golfers a mulligan. I regret never learning to understand or enjoy little babies. Now I am a grandfather bringing with it joy and the opportunity for one of those second chances. Every patient who is a grandparent extolls the joys of grand parenting: spoiling and enjoying the grand children and then returning them without worrying that someone will reject your return for the destruction you have caused. Kind of like shopping at Costco. I have never been good with babies even my own. I was afraid, concerned, even scared. Crying, fragile, little bobble head dolls, their heads seem to keep wanting to fall off. What do they want ? Why do they cry? What will make them happy? Why don’t they just tell me? Babies of course can sense this angst, especially your own children making them even more unhappy. I am a problem solver and sadly it was a problem I could not solve. Of course I could always use the excuse that I had to work to support our family but it was just an excuse to mask my shortcoming. My saving grace was that I worked very hard at being a good father once our children were older and we could communicate. My other saving grace was that Debi was an incredible mother, calm, peaceful and intuitive to the childrens’ wants and needs. I was reminded of this the other day when my son, Brandon commented how awesome his mother was calming and helping during a difficult night with the baby. You could hear in his voice a new appreciation for how hard it is to be a parent and how thankful he was for his mother. Having never known my own grandfathers, both died young, I have no real role model to learn from but I get a second chance. I am sure my son,who is great with his new daughter and my granddaughter, Gwyneth can teach me how to be a good grandfather and better enjoy babies.

Epilogue

Dr Bell dentist and grand daughter

Gwyneth, Grandpa and The Little Prince

This is a photo of the first time I held Gwyneth. I had to get a whooping cough vaccination before I could get close….What a world. I am reading her one of my favorite books, the Little Prince, the allegorical children’s book that explains all the lessons in life you need to be happy. She listened for a while and then fell in to a peaceful sleep for three hours. I didn’t want to move for fear of disturbing her and breaking the peaceful, magical spell. I think it is the longest I have been still in my whole life. My arms went to sleep. After three hours Kristina, her mom came and said we needed to wake her to feed her or something. I asked why. She said the pediatrician told them it would help to get her on a routine. Oh youth, they have not figured out yet that life will never be routine again. It sounded like the advice of young med school graduate who had read a lot of books but never had children of their own. Having watched lots of parents who are good with babies I have come to the conclusion that the number one rule is: Never wake a sleeping baby. And the number two rule is: Never wake a sleeping baby. Rule number three is: never argue with a new mother, so off Gwyneth went. No matter, the spell was broken, my arms came back to life and I went back to my normal routine life fixing dental equipment at the office on the weekends. It was still a day made special by those magic, peaceful moments that I will never forget.

 

P.S. Her head did not even fall off.