My father wasn’t just the best Dad, but he set the bar high for Grandfathers too. (And just to let you know I’m not the only one saying that when I tweeted out my previous post, one of my nephews responded: “He was a pretty awesome Granddad too!” ) So without further ado, here is why my Father was the best Grandfather:
- Dad loved children, not just his, but his Grandkids too. He would play with them for hours. Need someone to build legos with you? Check. Need someone to drive Matchbox cars around the floor? Check. Need someone to play cards with you? Check. Need someone to roll you around the house as fast as he can? Check. (If you look at the above photo, my son is sitting on his Grandfather’s lap and he is in a wheelchair. Who needs a wagon, when Grandpa can wheel you around himself!)
- Be willing to do the “impossible” for your Grandchildren. My father crawled out of his wheelchair, crawled to the stairs and sat on the bottom stair. And then using his arms only, pushed himself up those stairs one stair at a time. He’d never tried it before, but at the top of those stairs was his Grandson, begging him to come upstairs to play, encouraging him by yelling “You can do it, Grandpa!”
- Having a birthday? Need a cake? My father was a CIA trained chef (the school, not the agency,) who specialized in cake decorating. He could make the most delicate flowers out of buttercream. Long before cake decorating became a thing on TV, he was well known for his ability to copy any Bridal shower card onto a cake. But for his Grandchildren, who needs delicate flowers? Instead, fire trucks and spaceships were required and delivered. My son would deliver his cake request, complete with pictures, a month in advance—just to make sure Grandpa had plenty of time to plan for it.
- Grandpa was also famous for taking his Grandkids on trips. Around the state were most of the trips: Sailboats on the Sound, miniature golf anywhere in the state, Kent Falls, and every McDonald’s the Grandkids wanted to go to. But he also went farther afield, too. He took two Grandkids to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, several to NYC at Christmas time and took my son to Battleship Cove in Fall River. My father was in a wheelchair at that time, so couldn’t go inside the ships and subs instead my mother took him. But my father sat in the shade and waited for his Grandson to come up and tell him all about what he’d seen—he didn’t need to go himself, years ago he’d already taken two other Grandkids through those same boats.
What does any of this prove? It proves we were all loved by one of the greatest. A man who put his children and his grandchildren to the top of his list (well, second behind our mother.) That’s how it should be for everyone. Sadly that doesn’t always happen.