Becoming a Grandpa isn't so hard. All you have to do is raise your own child to adulthood and they usually take care of the rest. Sooner or later a baby comes along and you are suddenly qualified to be a grandparent.
Like many other fathers, I wasted all those free-wheeling years between when our own kids were raised and before the next generation came along to interrupt our oh-so-busy schedule of watching TV and sleeping late.
Now, there is an endless cycle of ballgames, recitals, baptisms, or a myriad other things always scheduled on the best fishing and hunting days. God help you if you have more than one grandchild as you need more skills than Mario Andretti to race across city traffic to two events in one afternoon.
I did it all with my own kids but I was young then too. I could go all day and all night if necessary. But nowadays, something has happened to me. That old “get up and go” seems to have “got up and went.”
I used to chide my own dad (and grandfather of many) about not getting up with us to hunt at the crack of dawn and he told me then, "when you get older, you will see." Shoot, he was only like 56 or something like that not like my own 57.
This past bow season did see me out most days before day break and after sunset, and it was tougher than I ever recall before. Recently, though, I was called into a tougher kind of duty with much larger stakes.
For two months in the winter, I stay near my son’s family. They have the world’s most perfect two-year-old girl. Both my son and daughter-in-law work, so child care is the norm during the week. When precious granddaughter is sick, however, one of them must miss work and that's a real hardship. This past week, just such an occurrence took place but since I was close by I got the call for baby-sitting adventures.
Armed with a WWI gas mask, shoulder length rubber gloves, a full hazmat suit and hip boots, I was ready for action. And that was just for breakfast.
Thankfully, Trixie was here but her experience with babies borders on zero. Now don't get me wrong. She can take a company and turn it around to making billions of dollars but getting that diaper back on is a definite skill set she missed out on. So it was up to grandpa.
When my own daughter was born, my wife entrusted my buddy and me to take care of the weeks old baby while she went to town. When my wife arrived home, she found my friend in the driveway inspecting his lunch and in dry heaves and me up to my noodles in a mess. We men find out fast if you do a job poorly, it lessens the chances of having to do it again and so it worked out perfectly -- for me.
So here with my granddaughter, I prayed all day for swift healing. Of course, the Lord can do miraculous things but stopping bowel movements is not one of them. Inevitably, I was faced with going to the bad diaper trenches.
I have been reading my grandfather’s WWI diary lately and the stories about gas warfare that was used are unbelievable. I now know just how he felt.
With Trixie’s help, we were able to get one diaper changed and only two loads of laundry required for cleanup. We had the time of our lives of course. I had purchased a play doh factory and the little one and I made logs and sticks and spaghetti and star shapes, cut out cookies and all sorts of animals too.
My granddaughter also loves to walk with Cooper who goes slowly so she can guide the leash around and around the block. We blew bubbles and drew chalk letters on the sidewalk, fished on the driveway, sat in the lawn chairs and had a great day.
Evening found me lying beside her low bed, holding her hand and singing her to sleep. This is the life of a grandparent even in Hollywood movies.
Of course no good deed ever goes unpunished and I soon found out the other part of baby-sitting: you usually catch whatever it is they have. So the flu came calling.
There was quite a bit of laughter from Trixie about my handling of the illness. It seems that the opinion of her and other women is that men tend to be a tad more expressive in our misery. That may be due to the known fact that men get the flu or any illness worse than women hence the man needing more tender care. And besides, when hasn't a woman complained us men not communicating well?
Trixie was a great nurse all in all and I am thankful she was around to hear me moan and groan and whine otherwise all that would have been lost to posterity.
So, if you are a woman and get the flu this year please know it could be worse. You could be a man.