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Being a grandparent definitely has its blessings

On my recent visits to Arizona, I got to spend some time with a few old Hardee’s friends. Several of those men started having grandchildren about the same time I did. It is amazing after decades of talking business how quickly we now talk about the blessings of having grandchildren.
We used to all complain about the advancing technology related to our businesses. Now we want the latest gadget if it involves showing off a picture of one of the little ones.
We all wanted smart phones with high pixel counts so we could take sharp pictures and crisp videos. Then we wanted better phones that allowed us to take high-definition movies. Greater storage capacity and longer battery life became important so we could take more and bigger pictures. How far we have come from the Kodak instamatics!
The first night of our meetings usually involves the grandfathers sitting around, passing the pictures on our phones and telling who is “expecting” and what has happened since our last visit.
For my crowd, we have survived another summer. Henry is 3-1/2 and Laura just passed 2. They both love the water and visiting Compass Lake. Henry calls it the “water house” which makes sense to me.
They love playing in the sand and especially playing with each other. They dutifully put on sun screen, something I never did as a kid.
Henry has discovered soccer and is on a 3-year-old team at the “Y” in Bainbridge. When I was his age I didn’t even know what soccer was. To this day I don’t really know how to score the game. I guess I am going to have to learn how because the love for this sport is passing most others around the world.
If running and kicking a ball makes you good at soccer, then Henry should one day be a star. He never tires of playing with a ball and his endurance has long passed his grandfather’s.
Laura has become involved in gymnastics, or “Nastix,” as she calls it. Certainly I was never involved in anything as organized as that at the age of 2.
Maybe if I had stretched and exercised like that my joints and muscles would not be so stiff today.
They both eat well and love going out to restaurants. They like visiting Granddaddy and Granny’s house, where they are allowed to do almost anything they want to do.
They are capable of wearing us completely out while visiting either separately or together. We dearly love them to visit and then cherish the nap when they have left.
Henry slipped through the terrible twos without too much notice, although he still clearly wants his way at times. Laura is putting the full court press on her parents as she becomes more demanding as a 2-year-old. I don’t know why her mother seems so surprised; I have seen this same child a generation ago.
Laura is going to have a little brother or sister next spring. Henry seems a bit nonchalant about it, but everyone else is excited. We won’t know if it is a boy or a girl until the next doctor’s visit, but it really doesn’t matter to me. After having one of each, I honestly couldn’t say I have a preference. They are pure joy to me.
My own grandparents were great role models for me in how to be a grandparent. We got to stay up late and watch TV. My grandmother kept lemon sherbet in her freezer for my unannounced afternoon visits. The toffee candy was always in the jar in her living room where we could sneak up and get some without asking. Today, that jar is in my dining room.
I hope to be a better role model than just showing them how to break the rules. One grandmother encouraged me to read and discussed novels with me like I was an adult. Another grandmother encouraged me to travel with them and enabled me to see most of this country as a child.
One grandfather taught me to work and showed me that nothing was more important than a man’s word and integrity.
Another grandfather died when I was younger than Laura. I never knew him, but still seem to feel his presence in discussions about our family.
Henry and Laura can clearly say “Granddaddy” now and the delight in their eyes when they see me is genuine. It might be a little irritating when their first question asks where their Granny is, but that’s okay. We both love them more than words can say.
It always amazes me at how many emails and comments I get from the readers of this column when I write about my grandchildren. All I can figure is that you too share the blessings of being a grandparent.

Dan Ponder can be reached at dan@donalsonvillenews.com.