Dr Peter West, author of Fathers, Sons and Lovers, and What is the Matter with Boys shares his experience of Grandpa time, and why it really matters.
Dads: Life can be tough for many of us. Changing nappies. Getting kids to sport afternoons. Work and all its hassles. Dealing with kids who want to argue. A mate of mine says his small son has a new phrase: “I don’t like..”. Uh oh. Trouble ahead! But I have some good news for you. If your kids have some kids – you will be a grandpa.
Grandpas and kids: it’s a perfect match. We have tons of time, and love to see our kids’ kids growing up. They have someone who just about worships them. Tells them jokes. Clowns around. Plays hide and seek. Someone who is impressed when they run fast and win prizes: grandpa!
Some weeks ago, we had Grandpa Day at school. I have 4 in one school! I went into Lewis’ class first (all names have been changed). He’s in Kinder and was so pleased to see me. I had to meet him and his friends. Then the teacher had a quiz for us; and he had to write the answers. After 15 minutes we were still on Question 2 as he was writing the answers. Slowly. Then the bell went. I hurried out of the classroom. Uh oh. Three kids were there waiting. “Where were you? Why didn’t you come to OUR class? Don’t you know visiting time is over already!” It took half an hour to make peace again. It’s hard being so popular.
THE GREAT MILKSHAKE DISASTER
Sometimes I think the grandkids are about to turn into monkeys. They jump around, cause mischief, run and chatter a lot. One day I bought two of them a milkshake. One chocolate, one vanilla, one coffee flavour for me. Any normal person would sit down on the chair and carefully drink the milkshake. Fred seemed to be capering around, showing off to his cousin, pointing out his friends, yelling out to them. Whoops- the milkshake tumbled over and was steadily emptying. “Grab it, Fred!” I yelled. Too late. It was everywhere! The man came to clean it up. “Which one fell over?”, he asked. Fred looked stricken. “The chocolate one” I said. “Ah well. I’ll give you a new one”. The little twerp grinned. Fortunately this time the milkshake went into Fred.
We get older every year. And life brings its trials- more aches and pains, another operation. But ask anyone like me about the joy of life at this age. Here’s what you’ll get: “The grandkids, of course!”