Larry Banman: Our first holiday as grandparents
Without a Doubt
Remember when the best thing about the holidays was the fellowship shared with family and friends? “Over the hills and through the woods to grandfather’s house we go,” was actually a travel plan and not the words to a Thanksgiving song.
My wife and I have just experienced our first holiday season as grandparents. Silas Hergert is only three months old and he has likely already forgotten his expedition to Grandma and Grandpa Banman’s home in the mountains. I won’t speak for Grandma, but for Grandpa it was a memorable weekend.
There was the usual fawning over the first grandchild. Silas has the distinction of being the first grandchild on both sides of the family. That will either work greatly in his favor, or it will become a yoke that constantly weighs him down. At this stage of his life, he appears to be up to the task. It isn’t a burden to him that the world revolves around him. In fact, it would seem as though he relishes that particular situation.
I try not to be insufferable about the little tyke, but I am hopelessly so. From my perspective, one of his major choices in life will be how to display both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Heisman Trophy on the mantel over his fireplace. He is already at the head of his class in size and his intelligence must be top shelf, because he laughs at all of my jokes. Handsome? That goes without saying. And, he already has Grandma wrapped so tightly around his little finger that when he says jump, her only question is, “How high?”
Speaking a bit more realistically, he is at that stage of development when it seems as if new ground is gained daily. Dexterity and hand-to-eye coordination were the areas of most noticeable development this past weekend. A jovial little fellow, Silas seems to gather enjoyment from almost anything. His early preferences are lights, trees, animal shows, sports teams that wear red and anything that involves a lot of movement. In other words, a rather typical baby.
What I have found of almost equal enjoyment is watching the development of his parents. There parenting styles are certainly disparate, but mom and dad have come to the agreement that their differences may actually make for a good balanced approach. They, like all parents, will find their way through the parenting journey. The most amazing transformation seems to be taking place with my daughter. She has become the most organized, note-taking, schedule-keeping, nest-building parent I have seen. This is the girl whose room I would refuse to go into for the last two years of her high school life because I knew the disorganized mess I would encounter would set me off on some parent rant. Her son Silas, knows exactly when he will eat, bathe and sleep because those things happen at virtually the same time every day. As soon as he can learn when to schedule his burps, I believe his mother will feel as though she has achieved some stage of Nirvana.
Grandparenting certainly has its share of rewards. I was prepared for some of those benefits, but others, like watching your own children develop, is an unanticipated bonus. I remember visiting my own grandparents and how that was always considered a treat. I hope that Silas will come to view those visits in the same way.
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