Grandpas were always old. My grandfathers never played. They sat and watched us and talked with our parents. They did not really talk with us but around us and about us. My parents were not that much different. They were a bit more engaged, especially my mom. They took care of our kids for several weeks on our first European trip as a couple. They took our kids by themselves at their cabin in Upper Michigan for a week. Martha's parents welcomed our boys to Camp Hanover for a week or two.
Then, I became a grandpa, first to Elise (above). Oh my! When they visit us or we them, I am drawn to her like a magnet. When I see her walking in the church campus with her parents or Martha, I abandon meetings and forget tasks to go walk with her. I love watching the way she walks from one distraction to another, completely absorbed by the world she sees. When she stands beneath me with her arms reaching up, I snatch her into my arms and cling to her as she clings to me. I am in love in a whole new way!
Then came Ella (above) who is now just over 6 weeks old. I just returned from a four day solo visit with Ella in St. Paul. When we visited Elise at that age, Martha and Anna dominated the care for her and I watched them (occasionally holding Elise when changed, but giving her back when crying or needed new diapers). In St. Paul with Ella, I was it. I was with her for hours while Jeff worked and Liz did chores. She interacts much differently than year-and-a-half Elise, but with no less intensity. When she finally focussed a stare on me and grinned, I melted. I found deep satisfaction getting a "nuk" to stick in her crying mouth between nursing and naps. And when she finally cried herself to sleep in my arms, I could hardly put her down
Oh yeah, grandpa-hood has hit me hard. I'll try not to inflict it on everyone around me, but it's a whole new perspective for me. Being a father was always a great privilege and joy. But in my youth I was too much in a hurry with my career and tasks to really sit and watch the kids. I think I missed a lot that I don't want to miss now as grandpa.