My wife and I had two daughters while we were still in our twenties. Thinking back, I knew very little about life or the world when I was still in my twenties. I knew enough to realize that we were raising two beautiful and amazing kids but knew very little about the world around me and in reality, I still had many things to figure out about me. In many ways I feel like I just got lucky. I tried to live my life by example but there are always things you’ve said or done that you wish you could take back. At the end of the day I rest feeling pretty good about where I am and how I got here.
And it’s funny how things happen. Yes, I suppose there were a couple of “ah ha” or defining moments in my life which sculpted who I was to become. There were significant events such as death of loved ones, the realization of dreams, the diagnosis of a disease…But much of that sculpting process just sort of happened as part of an ongoing evolution. You don’t realize how much you grow and change when you look at your life on a micro level. But when you look back to the beginning, and compare that to the present, you realize how far you’ve come and how many people have impacted you.
Our older daughter has a two year old daughter. So, yes, that makes us grandparents. I’d like to think that we are a new generation of grandparents although as I get older, I see more and more of my father in me in both physical looks, and in my actions. Still, we are a little younger, and a hell of a lot more active than grandparents of previous generations. I have heard people say how different it is to care for and love a grandchild compared to how you raised and continue to love your children. I have heard that, but now I understand exactly what that means.
I have an even greater protective and paternal instinct with my granddaughter than I did when my kids were that age. I guess over time, we are able to hone that skill as we learn more about life and the people in it. (And ourselves). We have a greater and deeper sense of awareness. But with that comes a heightened sense of appreciation. I guess in time, we witness more great and evil. We live more life. I look at Brynn, and my heart and soul warm another 30 degrees. To put it simply, Brynn melts me. I watch her play and want to protect her from everything. I want the world that she knows to be a peaceful and kind place free of violence and disease. I want her to feel safe in her world and want her to grow up knowing nothing but love and support.
She makes me want to sit and play.. and color … and build blocks…. and watch the same movies over and over again…. And I miss her when she’s not there.
She makes me want to care about her future but savor every minute of the here and now. Because a great here and now will only make a better tomorrow.
She makes me want to be better.
I am thankful for her.