If you’re lucky, there comes a magical time in your life when you experience the birth of your first grandchild. For me, that time arrived when I was already beginning to ask myself two cosmic questions: ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What is my purpose in life?’ The answer to both questions was delivered with the birth of Emma, our first grandchild, in 2000. That wonderful phone call woke us up, and Cass and I drove to the hospital in a hurry. By the time we got there, granddaughter number one had already arrived, and was sleeping comfortably in the baby nursery. We looked through the window, pointing at the grand-baby we thought was ours. The nurse smiled. I looked at our first grandchild, wrapped in a blanket, sleeping ever so peacefully. And I cried. Yes, like a baby! And at that moment, I knew that my new purpose in life was to be a loving and supportive grandfather to this beautiful baby girl, teaming up with Cass, the remarkable young grandmother standing at my side. People often ask me what it means to be a grandparent. There is only one answer I can offer.
“You’ll understand when you get there.”
Three years later, we were blessed with two more grandchildren. First, grandson Caden. Three months later, granddaughter number two, Chelsea. Yes, I experienced the same tearful emotions with each one. I’ve been told that crying becomes easier the older we get. No truer words have been spoken. Other grandparents we knew promised us that the best part about being a grandparent is that you can spoil the kids rotten and then send them home. Yes, we spoil them. With our love. But we don’t want to send them home! Selfish, perhaps, but we would love to keep them with us forever. There’s a special and deep emotional bond that naturally develops between grandchild and grandparent. It doesn’t take long for the grandkids to understand who we are and that we’re always here for them. Looking back at our daughters growing up, now the mothers of our three grandchildren, our own parents lived their lives at a distance, seeing their grandchildren . . . our daughters . . . only on very rare and special occasions. Times were different. Expectations were different. And the energy level of grandparents was sure different, too!