The pinnacle of a being a father is when the father sees his son be a father to his father’s grandchild. In my case – my grandson.
On September 1, 2018, Diana and I were given the honor to become grandparents to Jason Paul (JP) Everts. Fortunately, Diana was able to be in San Diego for the first birth of, what we hope will be, several grandchildren. Diana was in the delivery room facetiming Ashlee’s mom and dad who live in the state of Washington. So, three of the four grandparents were “there” to share the life changing moment! Ashlee is a “baby machine.” The doctors & nurses gave her many compliments about her demeanor and her physical being giving birth to a child.
Two weeks later, I was able to join the family in enjoying JP. JP had his mom and dad (our son) and BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS!! What a glorious time! We are so blessed to be able to have a great relationship with Ashlee’s mom and dad. Holding the baby for the first time was emotional. I couldn’t believe the time had arrived for me to be holding a grandchild. When people tell you it (being a parent) goes by fast … please, believe them! Cherish everyday you can to create moments you will remember forever.
On December 18, PJ, Ashlee & JP joined us for six days! The three of them arrived Tuesday afternoon and there was that feeling again: I WAS A GRANDFATHER! I mean … seriously. It is a “feeling.” I never had a grandfather. Didn’t know what the “feeling” was all about. Now, Diana (my wife) not only had both sets of grandparents, she had a great grandmother. Diana had a firm grip of the role of a grandparent and needless to say, especially after the six days … DIANA FLIPPIN’ ROCKS AS A GRANDMOTHER! WOW!!
PJ, Ashlee, & JP walk into our house and there he is. JP. Now, just over three months old. Huge smile. Our eyes zoom in on one another and right from the start, I knew it was going to be THE special time I hoped for.
Everyday was better than the previous day.
Tuesday, I take him, and we instantly bound. No crying. No whimpering. He holds onto me like a three-month-old can. I am just melting!! I think, “Tomorrow (Wednesday) I get the day-off from teaching because I had no classes and we get to babysit. Thursday, I have my two finals and then, I GET TO COME HOME TO A FULL HOUSE OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! Friday, PJ and I get to go out to lunch and have some DADDY / SON time and go out to dinner. Then, Saturday over THIRTY relatives and friends will be at our house to celebrate the birth of JP!” What a week!!
When I woke-up on Wednesday, I felt like crap. I woke-up several times during the night. Usually, like many “old men,” I get up to pee. But, NOT THREE TIMES! And then, I realized, “Paul, there is a three-month-old baby boy in your house.” Every time he cried, I could hear him. NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT HIS CRYING. I just realized that was the reason for me waking up. Thank God I was waking up due to JP crying and not something wrong with my prostate! (wink)
So, Wednesday was the first full day of “Grandpa E doing his thang.” Wow! What a joy it was to hold JP. It wasn’t like the first time in September. That first time was emotions and frankly, fear that I was going to “break” JP. Now, he is strong. I get to “fly” him around the room like Superman! Make faces at him and he makes faces at me. Babysitting? SIMPLE! Diana, Katy (JP’s Aunt / our daughter), and I were thrilled. When he would get fussy, we just took turns holding him and frankly, he fusses when things need to be done: feeding and changing his diaper. He rarely fussed to get attention. He is an independent little boy.
Also, need to add … to see Katy be an aunt? As cool as seeing PJ be a “daddy.” Katy is wonderful! I didn’t see her change a diaper, however. But nonetheless… there she is – holding JP / giving him kisses. Super sweet.
On Wednesday night, I even loved being the “substitute UBER / LYFT driver” for PJ and Ashlee. Due to traffic, it was close to a forty-minute drive to the restaurant. I loved my talk with PJ and Ashlee. Exchanging ideas. Being an encourager for PJ and Ashlee to continue to do the great job they are doing for JP. “Introduced” Ashlee to Freddie Mercury. Love the BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY movie. So, I “youtubed” the LIVE AID concert and showed Ashlee who Freddie Mercury is! For some, a “simple” time. For me? A special time. Continuing to build relationships. Adapt to the roles of “father-in-law” and “Grandpa E.” Both roles are very new to me! In fact, I have been “studying” on how to be better at both roles.
On Monday, December 17, I had a crappy meeting with my high school administration and union. Won’t go into details. High school administration + Union = CRAP. So, to be at school on Thursday was tough on my spirit, but to know at 12:30pm, I was leaving for two solid weeks for winter break AND was going to walk into a home where people were happy to have me in their lives … a powerful thing. FAMILY. So powerful because when you have family, a family who supports you / loves you, it makes everything else (good or evil) outside the home seem to be less good or less evil. Not as important!
And that is the purpose of my small “gift” for you. FAMILY! Please. We are seeing the decay of our nation because we are not having enough of the moments (and there were MANY MANY MORE) I was able to enjoy! Go on GOOGLE and type in “a decaying nation can be seen with the lack of family” and over TWENTY-SIX MILLION “HITS” WILL BE SHOWN! TWENTY-SIX MILLION!!
What I noticed the most with three-month-old JP is how observant he already is, and I don’t think this is uncommon! I do believe MY grandson is INCREDIBLE. Should go without saying. Yet, I believe all humans do observe action and learn through actions. When I would move my hand with him watching my hand move … he would attempt to move his hand the same way. When I “crumpled” up the ear of his toy elephant, JP would attempt to make that same sound. He was already attempting to emulate what this man (his Grandpa E) was doing. I was seeing the value of interacting with a baby! And then, I thought, “What is it like for babies who don’t have adults taking the time to crumple a toy elephant’s ear and help them crumple a toy elephant’s ear?”
People! We are in trouble. I am going to talk to the men! Men! Come back home; get down on the damn carpet; and, crumple the damn toy elephant’s ear! Trust me. Your grandson (in my case) needs you! He wants to learn! He can learn from observation and he is CRAVING for a person to observe.
And here is the other thing MEN… be the damn role model you wanted to have. Or be the role model that your father was and do it better! I looked at PJ (my son) and watched him interact with JP and I thought, “de ja vu all over again.” I went down memory lane and remembered doing many of the same things PJ was doing with his son, JP and what I also saw? PJ taking more of an initiative than I did when PJ was JP’s age. Now, Ashlee (my daughter-in-law) may disagree about PJ taking the initiative with baby JP (giggle). But, changing diapers without being “told to change the diaper.” Something I had a difficult time doing (I will say, on my behalf, we used cloth diapers and therefore, I had a to go to the toilet and rinse them; that was a challenge for me).
My grandson, JP, reminded me… WE NEED TO BE THERE FOR OUR FAMILIES! And when we are, the return is INVALUABLE. To walk into the house from being hurt or a suffer a rough day to a smiling BABY, there is nothing like it. There was a saying… frankly, an annoying saying that many of the Dublin High School football players would say (rudely, may I add) to their coaches: COACH ME UP, COACH!! So, when the Dublin High School football player would do something incorrect and get chewed out by their coach, I would hear, “Coach me up, Coach.” Well, what I will say AGAIN TO THE MEN… “Love’em up, Dad. LOVE’EM UP!!” They need LOVE from you! To improve as football players, the football players needed coach to coach them. To improve as HUMAN BEINGS, your children / your GRANDCHILDREN need LOVE from you! The ONLY way for your children / grandchildren to know how to love is BE LOVED!
I hope you have a beautiful Christmas. Get inspired by that story of the Father (God) giving us his only Son – Jesus Christ. And see what the Father’s love did for our world. You (fathers) have the same opportunity to give UNCONDITIONAL LOVE TO YOUR CHILDREN. Give it, Damn it! They need it.