When I was 20 years old or so, my mom got remarried. Her husband, my step-dad, didn’t have any children of his own. He never raised or even spent that much time around children. Since I was an adult (or at least as much as a 20 year-old can be an adult) when I met him, he never really had to raise me or take care of me either.
The really cool part of this story though, is how great of a job he does as a grandparent. At first there was a pretty steep learning curve for him. Once, he and my mom were visiting us and our new baby and we were trying to decide where to go for lunch. Once we decided, he stood up, put on his shoes and said, “OK, lets go.” Not yet familiar with the pace of life with a newborn, we still needed to feed and change our daughter before we could get out the door. 45 minutes later, he understood what it was like to travel with a baby.
On one of our first visits back to see my mom and step-dad, he went to the store for something and wanted to bring back a toy for our daughter. Since she was only a few months old, I expected a rattle or something similar. Instead what he walked in the door with was a four-foot long stuffed lion! We all got a good laugh out of that one.
When we had our third baby, he already had five years experience as a grandpa under his belt, he knew the time and energy it took, especially starting over with a brand new baby at home. The day my wife delivered was the hottest day of the year (it was 98 degrees that day). While we were in the hospital for those few days, he went to our house and MOWED OUR LAWN! In 98 freaking degree weather. When you have a baby, lots of people stop by and bring you baby clothes, flowers, and food, but you really have to care about someone to mow their lawn on a 98 degree day.
When our kids were all little, he would read them books and play with them like he’d been parenting all his life. Now that our kids are getting older, he does an even more amazing job with them. The kids love running errands with him, it might have something to do with their trips to the “toy store” (Walgreen’s), where they bring home anything from 1000 piece jewelry boxes, to those “as seen on TV” Dreamlights. They also really like spending time fishing in the pond behind their house, “helping” at his work, and making pizzas.
I guess he’s proof that you don’t need to be a parent in order to be an excellent grandparent. He openly admits, that he skipped the hard part of raising kids and went right to the good stuff.
Now if I could only get him to change a dirty diaper…
Happy Parenting and Happy Grandparenting!