Village Voice - June,
A lot has happened. I didn’t' know what to expect with the birth of my first grandchild. I was worried, excited, proud, and more than a little bit anxious about just what to "do" as a granddad. As the event drew nearer and nearer, I grew ever more restless and uncertain of my grandfather role. When Ross called us with the wonderful news, I started to panic just a little bit.
Then we flew to
First, I love being a dad. I don't know that I was (or am) particularly good at it, but I sure do like the "dad" thing. And, I missed being an "active dad." Just as I got comfortable with the role, my boys all grew up and went on their own (or nearly so). And, it seemed like all that I had been working on as a dad was now just going to waste. So I guess I got rusty, and didn’t exactly evolve "father‑wise." I knew of those "three little words", but I wasn’t quite sure of their meaning or power yet. I missed more than a few opportunities.
Second, babies are (still) transforming. When I held Ellie, I remembered holding my own children. (Got to admit, Ellie is a little prettier than ours.) And I was able to look back over my own "fatherhood" and be reminded of the real meaning of those "three little words" that are special to dads. Nobody else could do that. It took Ellie.
Ellie didn't say anything -
she was just there. She didn't ask me to
do anything - she just
allowed me to be with her and accepted my clumsy affection with all the
one‑week old baby can muster. She made
me nervous and calm all at the same time.
And, each time, I remembered what those "three little words"
for dads really mean. I saw it and felt
it, looking both forward and backward with my granddaugher in my arms.
You know by now what those "three little words" are. They remind us that fatherhood (and grandfatherhood) is always a work in progress. It keeps on going, asking different things of us at different times. I'm pretty lucky. I've got three sons who still call me "dad" even though they're occasionally mortified by my antics, a wife whom I adore and can depend on to set me straight, and a beautiful grandaughter who has already reminded me how dads (and granddads) are supposed to keep growing. You guessed it - those three little words for dads are "some assembly required."
I'm not done being a dad and a granddad. I've got some learning to do, and some "evolving" to accomplish. In short, there's still "some assembly required" for me. But, I've got my family - including Ellie - to help me. While "some assembly" is going on with me, there are still things I can already do for my boys and my granddaugher. She knows, and they know. Between the two of us, we've got 360 degree coverage. As I told Ellie when I last held her, "I'll get better at this little girl. But don't worry for now. I've got your back."