Maybe They’re Right About the “wiser” Thing

Yesterday was my birthday. 36.

My father-in-law and his wife left town on Saturday, returning to Florida. They visited us for a week and I have to say, it was a pleasant visit. Our daughter rolled out the red carpet, charming them from day one.

I got to thinking about my own grandparents during this time. I had one set of grandparents I knew really well. Unfortunately, my father’s dad passed away before I was born. His wife remained in southern California so I only saw her a time or two. Enter my other grandfather. My mom’s father, Charlie, was a great guy and a tremendous role model for me. I looked up to him something fierce. I believe much of his personality survives inside me today. There were times in my life when I felt overshadowed by all my siblings, but my grandpa did his best to make me feel extra special. It’s a rare treat and something I will remember fondly about him for as long as I live.

Many of the fond memories were forged while staying at my grandparents house in Vancouver, Washington. I’d follow him around their house asking questions about the various things he’d do. I watched him fix his car, crush ice, arrange his tools, and other odd tasks. He endured my questions and not once do I recall him being short with me. Inquisitive I was, patient he was.

Now seeing my parents in the role of grandparents makes me ponder. I thought about how well my father-in-law and daughter were bonding during their week-long visit. It makes me sad to think he most likely won’t know her much past her teenage years. He’s doing his best to get back in shape and lead a healthier life, but my father-in-law is 67 years old. It would be wonderful to see them develop the type of relationship I cherished with my grandfather. There’s an outside chance he’ll move to Seattle with his wife. The thought of this happening pleases me very much.

I can expose my daughter to many things in life, but there’s something to be said for the impact of a grandparent. In two weeks we’ll get on a plane to see the other half of my wife’s family. More time for a proud dad to assess the role of the grandparents.

Today I am 36, hear me roar!


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Grown-ups, Humans are Good, Storytelling. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Maybe They’re Right About the “wiser” Thing

  1. jaded says:

    Roar on! and many more.
    I wonder if it is common, to know one set of grandparents more intimately than the other? My mother’s parents were younger than my father’s, so I knew them better and longer. My father’s mother passed when I was 7, and his father passed before he turned 5. My father had a neighborhood of fathers looking out for him.

  2. SM says:

    I can’t comment here about this post – I shall send you an email. But know this brought some tears to my eyes.
    Hope you had a great birthday.

  3. Tim says:

    Was that a roar? It sounded like a wheez.

  4. furiousball says:

    Happy Birthday amigo

  5. sizzle says:

    Welcome to 36. It’s not that bad here. Glad to have the company! 😉

  6. sprizee says:

    Aw, this made me tear up. I still miss my grandfather (on my mom’s side) fiercely. He passed away from cancer when I was in high school. There is definitely something special to be said about the unique bond between grandparent and grandchild. How lucky that your daughter has four grandparents to forge memories with.
    Joyeux anniversaire mon ami! Wait, amie…amis? Damn it, one of these days I’ll actually remember. Désolé Egan.

  7. egan says:

    Jaded – I think it would be great to have four fabulous grandparents to know while growing up, but I imagine that’s a rare treat. I like this neighborhood of fathers bond.
    SM – aw, thanks. It wasn’t meant to bring tears, but memories have a funny way of sneaking up on us when we least expect them. Thanks for the email and my thoughts are with you.
    Tim – these days I sound more like a chainsaw, sawing logs in my sleep. Snoring isn’t so sexy.
    furiousball – thank you kind sir. I feel like I can no longer pretend to be in college. Sucks.
    Sizzle – you’re right, there are many people our age so it’s got that going for it. I think life begins at 36. Nah, but there’s still a lot of time ahead.
    Sprizee – grandparents are amazing. I totally understand why they’re so guilty of spoiling the grandchildren. I know, our daughter is pretty lucky at this point in time. She’s got three “grandmas” and three “grandpas”. She still needs to meet one of her grandpas. Thanks for the birthday wishes. “ami” is right since I’m all male… yep.. still all man.

  8. churlita says:

    I only remember my one grandma. She was my dad;’s mom and the opposite of my mom. She created a great balance for my female role models.
    Happy Birthday!

  9. egan says:

    Churlita – thank you for the birthday wishes. Those role models really do play a key role in shaping who we become in life.

  10. lora says:

    Happy Birthday!!

  11. egan says:

    Lora – thank you thank you thank you. [takes a bow]

  12. sari says:

    Happy Birthday! 🙂
    I can’t wait to someday be a grandmother, I love my kids something fierce and I know I’ll love their kids, too.
    Here are some words that remind me of my grandparents (all of them):
    nilla wafers
    fruity pebbles
    Hmm. I loved all my grandparents a lot. Mine just sent me my birthday money, they do every year and get a kick out of the things I buy. This year it’s either a guitar or a ping pong table, crazy, huh? 🙂

  13. egan says:

    Sari – that is very cool to know they still send money. I think this is a great tradition and it’s even cuter to know they’re so interested in your purchase decision. I think a ping pong table would make a fine addition for their grandchildren. Just don’t ever let the kids beat the grandparents. This word association is a good thing. Whenever I think of my grandma, I’m reminded of her ham split pea soup.

  14. brookem says:

    this post was very sweet, and also made me well up. my past two birthdays have had a bittersweet feel to them. though i’ve spent it with those i love, there have been two key players missing- my grandparents. add to that the fact that my grandfather always had a joint party (his birthday is the 7th), and it sure makes me feel a void.
    but. there are so many wonderful memories i have of the two of them, a lot from growing up, my childhood, teenage years, etc. i hope that Baby Singe has that opportunity for a strong relationship with her grandparents, because really, nothing beats it.
    thanks for letting me share my mini story here.

  15. egan says:

    Brookem – your comment made me a bit weepy. I can only hope Baby Singe gets to know her grandparents really well. It was so cute to see her beaming smile last week when the grandparents were in town. She enjoyed him company and was sad when he left. There’s something very comforting about their presence on little ones.

  16. Gwen says:

    Fuck, I totally missed your birthday. How did you get so old? I thought you were, like, 35.
    The end.

  17. egan says:

    Gwen – these things happen and I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge because you forgot to give me a virtual birthday blessing. See, I’m one of the nicer people you’ll ever meet. You, you, you are very funny.

  18. Mamag says:

    The grandparent thing is one of the … make that THE single biggest regret I have about waiting until I was 37 to have kids. I fear I won’t know my grandchildren … especially if my kids wait until their late 30’s before they start re-producing. Ugh.
    Oh, and buon compleano a te!!!

  19. egan says:

    Mamag – true, but please don’t regret too much. Think of all the great time you’ll get with your own kids. Think of all the time you had to learn about yourself. Glad to see you back in these parts.

  20. Felisa says:

    Ahhh okay… This post makes me too emotional. I couldn’t read all of it. I have no living grandparents left. I only had my maternal grandparents when I was born… My grandpa passed away when I was 3 (about to turn 4) but you know what? I do remember him and even though people find it hard to believe this, I do miss him. My grandma passed away when I was 13. I was really close to her and 6 years after her passing, it’s still hard for me not to choke up when I talk about her.
    I definitely hope your daughter will get to spend lots of good times with her grandparents and create lots of good memories with them.
    Anyway, happy birthday!!!

  21. egan says:

    Felisa – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you do remember your grandpa from when you were young. I believe you. Grandparents really do shape who we are as people. It’s so amazing. There’s something about their guidance and compassion that puts a grandchild at ease. Oh, thanks for the birthday wishes.

  22. Cléa says:

    I only ever knew one grandmother, the rest had passed on, and I have fond memories of her. I still talk about her and relate to the ways her influence shaped my life.
    Hope you had a wonderful Birthday!

  23. egan says:

    Cléa – it took me so long to get back to this comment that your own birthday came and went. It really is remarkable how much influence our grandparents can have on us. I wouldn’t change those memories for anything. I hope you’re well.

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