When my father visits, I love watching the relationships he forms with each of my children flourish in their own ways. Each of them have helped to bring out more emotion from this man who was always caring underneath a very tough exterior. He texts me to ask how they are doing, sends his love and expresses it abundantly to them.
Highlights from his visit this past weekend:
– he is up at the crack of dawn because his granddaughter wakes him up to finish the 3D model of the Whitehouse they started the previous night.
– the TV gets turned on to the news channel and I’m made aware of what is actually happening in the political scene; meanwhile my children get a tutorial on news watching, understanding what headlines mean, and being encouraged to read those scrolling the bottom of a screen. “Watching and reading simultaneously is something you should learn to do”, he urges.
– they go for early morning walks
– they indulge in band playing and the amount of noise produced from a guitar, drum, harmonica and rattle is too much for even me but this man, who would not have tolerated me doing this 20 years ago has no problem listening and indulging in it now.
– he sits on the floor and fixes puzzles, plays board games, reads to and feeds my 7 mth old until his legs ache. She had her first snack of brownies and ice cream and cookies and milk. *gasp*
– he teaches proper flossing and brushing techniques to my kids. As a child, the one question my father asked us every single day was “did you brush and floss your teeth?” As annoying as it was, I’m grateful because to date, I’ve never had a single cavity. This comes complete with simple but necessary bathroom habits like keeping the toothpaste closed and wiping the counter tops after use. I don’t know how long these newfound behaviors will stick but I’m excited that I didn’t have to go into my kids bathroom to tidy it this morning!
– he dotes on my youngest and could hold her for hours, barely wanting to put her down even when she is asleep.
– he facetimes my brother and his family in west Virginia ensuring that everyone is doing well and reminding me that as old as my children will get, I will remain concerned about what they are doing. It’s also amazing to watch him being so technologically aware because I remember teaching him and my mom the basics some 15 years ago when we bought our first chunky beige Compaq!
– he text messages my sister and mom in California to find out how everything is, another reminder of the grace that age has lent to him, softening him around the edges.
– he prays with my children and there’s something about that they absolutely enjoy.
I’m excited to watch my children make memories with their grandparents and learn life lessons aside from the math/reading/science that my teacher-parents are always happy to share. It’s fun hearing the banter that ensues between them as they plot a way to get him to stay another day. The kids decide “If we’re really quiet, grandpa will nap longer and when he wakes up it will be dark and he wouldn’t go home because he doesn’t like driving at night.” When he announces that he will indeed stay another night, it suddenly becomes “the best day ever”.