First hand experience teaches us it’s not easy moving from one ‘hood’ to another. Raising children, I thought I had learned everything. But once again I was mistaken. Moving from bachelorhood to parenthood was a major trip.
Years ago, our youngest, then in her 14th year of life, suggested one day out of the clear blue, "Dad, if you took Mom to Niagara Falls for a relaxing weekend, I’ll bet she’d really enjoy that. It is soooooo romantic, Dad." As she added those last words, she slowly stretched them out. While emphasizing the word "so," she lifted her eyes skyward.
Immediately, little red flags began waving precariously straight across the horizon in that swift warning breeze with which parents somehow become automatically equipped. Blowing passed my peepers, it swiftly caught my undivided attention.
Hmm! And since when did teenage kids ever concern themselves with the enjoyment of parents; romantic or otherwise?
I silently asked myself.
"You mean leave our poor little child all alone here by her little ol’ self," I teased. "And just what would you be doing down here while we were up there enjoying ourselves?" I questioned, and then I let her know I was fully aware of how teenagers think. "Enjoying yourselves by partying? Nice try, dear, but you’re forgetting your ol’ dad didn’t just blow in off the SS Corncob. After all, I too was once your age. Besides, I think we’d rather wait until you’re finished with college before taking another ride across those life threatening rapids in an unstable cable car."
That coveted institution of parenthood we all hope to reach someday is no picnic. You wake up early to stay ahead of conniving little monsters. There was a time when I used to think they stayed up all hours of the night scheming; trying to conjure new ways of ferhoodling us. Just to stay a minimum of two steps ahead, you had to experience the exhaustion of sacrificing any and all sleep. Daytime catnaps were the norm rather than the exception.
However, now that the wife and I have entered a new hood, that of grandparenthood, it’s a far different story. And since we’ve been ‘trained" so well in parenthood, we have absolutely no fear if ever it commences again. Now whenever any of our grandchildren look at me with deep, soulful eyes and ask, "Poppy, can we go fishing?" with a glint in my eye and a quick wink, I immediately answer, "Well, of course we can," and quickly gather the fishing tackle.
"But you’re in the middle of a major project here at the house," the wife reminds me.
"There’s time, Dear," I answer warmly and with the wisdom of Solomon. "It can wait. But their childhood won’t. They’re only young once." And then I pull all the male logic out from within my bag of life’s experiences and hit her with, "Besides, they’re building up their memory banks for later years, just in case someone ever asks them what they did with their grandparents when they were young whippersnappers."
As we grow older, isn’t the act of mellowing great?
I sleep well at night, now. Especially whenever I’m with the grandkids, their hound and ours. That happens whenever we’re camping out on a hot summer night by the cool, clear waters of a babbling brook filled with rainbow trout. Hey, someone has to watch over the li’l tykes and keep them from harm’s way. Isn’t that what grandparenthood is all about? That and spoiling them?
You see, I don’t fret anymore. I’ve grown smarter over the years, and perhaps a bit wiser. Now I let the wife do the worrying. I’m still trying to catch up on all that sleep I lost during those long ago sleepless nights just after entering parenthood.
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