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I Once Wanted No Part of Grandchildren

By Richard F. Miniter

Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD.  The father of six and grandfather of six he lives and writes in the colonial era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York, blogs at richardfminiterblog.com and can also be reached at miniterhome@aol.com

I once wanted no part of grandchildren.  Indeed when my daughter and son-in-law announced that our first grandchild was in the works I toppled into despair.  Did I look like I was old enough to be a grandfather?  My hair was still red, well sorta but otherwise I was in every sense a vigorous guy.  So I made the next nine months a misery for my wife.  How dare your daughter do this to me!

And on the big day I walked into the hospital room leering a Dracula grin.

My daughter was in bed holding the baby and when I shuffled over she surprised me by simply holding the tiny bundle out for me to take.  Reflex took over and I did, looked at this brand new little  girl and immediately put her down — in my heart.  I was in love.  Transported.  And in later years I was  carried off by every other one which came along in much the same way.

Now with some eighteen years experience in the role, I’ve come  realize that they fall in love with you too.  But just as your feelings for your grandchildren differ in certain very important ways from those you have for your children, they return the favor.  Seeing you as more trustworthy in some regards.  Often more relaxing to be around.  Less inclined to be critical.  This is because there’s so many things a grandparent doesn’t care very much about.  You don’t care about how soon they’re walking and talking, where their small motor skills test out against some cohort, you don’t care about what time they go to bed or whether they’re eating vegetables.  You just care about playing with them, watching them learn how to put a puzzle together, watching them wrestle with their uncle on the living room carpet, or in my wife’s case, watching them laugh along with her in a cloud of pie flour the night before Thanksgiving. 

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Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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