The Meaning of Grandchildren

Published 5:46 am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lois Wyse once said that grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation. Having studied my family tree for 30+ years, I believe that to be true. Having adored my own grandparents, I know that to be true.

William Sharp Faulk is the latest dot connecting my family. He arrived Saturday, August 3rd, one day ahead of schedule. Like my other grandchildren, Laura Beall Faulk and Henry Evans Vanstone, he kept me and Granny up all night waiting his arrival.

I suppose you could eventually have enough grandchildren that it doesn’t overwhelm your emotions, but I doubt it. There is something so incredibly special about watching the happiness in your children as they have children of their own.

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Will arrived with a healthy set of lungs, and yet a somewhat quiet demeanor. Perhaps he is saving the late night screams and colic for his parents and that is how it should be. I got to do what all grandparents want to do at a new arrival; I held him and rocked him and marveled at how perfect and special he is.

A fellow newspaper columnist, Doug Larson, once wrote, “The idea that no one is perfect is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren.” If I am honest, I realize that my grandchildren have faults. The difference between them and my children is that I choose to totally ignore the faults my grandchildren might have.

I must confess that when Henry arrived I immediately said he looked like his other grandfather, Jack Vanstone. When Laura arrived, she was the spitting image of her father and the Faulk side of the family.

When I looked at Will I thought, perhaps with some longing, there is something that looks very familiar about him. When I saw a later picture, I realized that it was Will’s ears. He has inherited his Uncle Earnest’s ears! Perhaps something of me will manifest itself in him yet.

I believe that Adair Lara, the author of The Granny Diaries said it best when she wrote “Grandkids bring you into a sweeter, slower present. They show you the future at a time when a lot of your friends are thinking about the past. And they take you back to childhood – theirs, the parent’s and your own; a three – time admittance to wonderland” .

Like most of you that have experienced the joy of having grandchildren, I plan to use that ticket to wonderland. Grandchildren are an incredible gift, not to be squandered, but to be savored and enjoyed for the rest of the time we have left on this earth.

As a grandchild that was on the receiving end of that kind of love and devotion, I realize that it works both ways. Hopefully this is a gift to both of us; unconditional love and unyielding devotion. Just the way it should be.

Dan Ponder can be reached at