“There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.”
– Victor Hugo
I love learning. My greatest lessons haven’t been in a classroom, but from grandson Jack. Let me tell you about being Jack’s grandfather and what he’s taught me.
Two years ago I became a grandparent. My wife Muna is the love of my life, but my grandson Jack is the joy of my life. Jack is love, pure and simple.
Family life is deeply felt through births and the departures of loved ones. The adding and subtraction of loved ones makes a family close. A death is grief and loss. The death of a beloved family member is an amputation. A birth in a family is an addition and celebration. The birth of a grandchild makes you feel immortal. It is a second chance to love again.
Meeting Jack for the first time did something to me. I’ve heard people talk about religious experiences, but I’ve never had one until I met Jack. The first time I met Jack something in me changed. I was hit with an intense and unexpected joy. I looked at him, and I knew that I could never love anything in my life as much I loved Jack.
Jack made me succumb to love beyond reason. Being Jack’s grandfather is what I put on this earth to do. If I had known how wonderful it was to have a grandson, I would have done it first.
Being a Grandfather
I don’t have kids. My wife shares her two wonderful kids with me. Both of them are grown and in their early twenties. Muna had Rebecca young. Rebecca had Jack young. This explains why we are grandparents in our 40’s.
Being Jack’s grandfather is the most vivid and transforming experience of my life. Jack made me an extraordinary witness to life. Being a grandfather is a great feast of life. It allows you devour the things you love about being alive.
Jack is a reminder of the unending love of God. Being Jack’s grandfather has strengthened my faith. I feel God’s love every time I see him smile. He makes my heart sing when he laughs. Jack is a glimpse into the greatness of life. My time with him has been precious. My memories with him are the happiest of my life.
Jack has light brown hair and blue eyes. Jack is chunky and always smiling. Jack is a great toddler. He never cries unless he is really upset. Jack watches everything. He never gets bored. Everything seems to make Jack laugh.
Jack has given me an understanding of love I never knew before. Being a grandfather is a wider and greater love than I’ve ever known. Becoming a grandfather altered my identity and changed my place in the world.
Your forties are a strange place. You are not old, but you are not young. I do not feel old enough to be a grandparent. I have friends my age who are just having kids. My father was my age when I was born.
Jack taught me time couldn’t be measured by a clock. Time approaches in waves, unexpected and sudden. Being a grandparent moved me up a notch in the life cycle. The change in our lives as grandparents was big and unexpected. Jack was a great addition to our lives. He is a constant source of love and inspiration to us both.
My own experience as a grandchild is limited. My father’s dad died before I was born. His mother died when I was young. My mom’s parents were good people, but I hardly knew them. They lived far away.
I’ve never had kids. With Jack, I got to skip all the hard work and jump to the joy of being a grandparent. DNA has nothing to do with commitment or love. I will always love Jack. He is my grandson, case closed.
Lessons from Jack
Spending time with Jack is a joy. Jack is an indiscriminate, nonjudgmental lover of everything. His joy is contagious. Jack’s response to anything loud, soft or spongy is ecstatic. Jack laughs and giggles at everything.
Jack always lives in the moment. His entire world is the here and now. I have to be in the here and now to keep up with him. I tickle and play with him while keeping him from eating dog food (his favorite thing). I am not in-charge of Jack. His parents set the rules.
I treasure my time with him because it’s limited. We watch him once or twice a week. I always look forward to seeing him. Jack always makes my day better and lighter. Jack is always happy to see him, and I am always overjoyed when it’s our turn to babysit him.
There is a golden rule for being a grandparent: “Keep Thy Opinions to Thyself.” My dad once said, “Only give advice if asked or in a life-threatening situation.”
Jack’s parents are young, but they are great parents. What advice could I give? I’ve never had kids. Jack is the first time I’ve ever changed diapers, an experience I’ll always remember. There is a reason young people have babies. They have the energy for it.
Jack is his own person. As Jack’s grandpa, I have few expectations or agendas. I want him to have a happy, healthy life, that’s it. Jack is a free pass to act like an imbecile. Playing with Jack and making him laugh is my all-time favorite thing to do. Jack has given me a “pure and nearly perfect love.”
I want to add something of enduring value to Jack. I want to help guide him through the mystery and wonder of life. I will always let him know he is loved and cherished. I will be there for him. I will try to answer all the questions he asks. I will try to harvest the lessons of my own life to give him wisdom, love, and understanding.
My own pledge to Jack is that I will always do my best to have a heart full of love for him, arms that will always hug him, ears that will truly listen and an understanding that is never-ending. Being Jack’s grandfather is the greatest joy of my life so far.
I gotta go, “Little Einsteins” is on…nothing beats Little Einsteins according to Jack, lol!