What My Parents Didn't Tell Me About Being A Grandparent

 Avery turns two

Avery turns two

On Sunday, Dawn and I celebrated our 2nd Grandiversary. I mean, Avery, our wonderful granddaughter, turned two years old! Since she entered this world, she has captivated my life. I don't mean to brag but she is simply amazing. She is immensely curious, funny (yes, toddlers can have quite the sense of humor), loving, caring, generous, and at times, ornery. Also, she is quite the grandpa's girl.

Before we had children, I had always told Dawn that I wanted to have two girls. I had thought about nearly every part of my life. Well, every part except for being a grandparent. For some reason, that never entered my mind. My girls are my princesses and although I did think about what they would be like as adults and parents, I never stopped to think about my new role of becoming a grandpa.

I have great parents. I am even lucky enough to have great step-parents, and I hit the in-law lottery with Dawn's parents. Needless to say, I have been around a grandparent or two in my life.

The one thing they all told me is that I will enjoy the "second-ride" differently than the first. Not better, but different. It's hard to explain, but my fellow grandparents out there know, it is unlike any other emotion.

There was a lot about being a grandparent that my parents never told me.

My kids won't listen to me anymore than I listened to my parents.

I know, I know, I've been there and done that and therefore my adult daughter should listen to the sage wise man that stands before her. Horse crap. As Dawn has reminded me more than once, we almost never listened to the prudent advice from our parents when we were young parents so why should I expect any different from Emily. The best thing is that she, like her mother, is usually more right than I am.

It would be very hard to butt out.

Emily, Garrett and Avery live with us. I am grateful for that. Also, I think I am ready to accept that they won't live with us forever. Even though they live with us, Dawn and I have tried to not fall into the trap of co-parenting our granddaughter. Emily and Garrett are the parents, we are the grandparents. I sometimes make suggestions to them about how I would handle a certain situation or try to explain why Avery is behaving in a certain way. It is very hard, at times, to just butt out of their lives. Dawn and I talked about this quite a bit before Avery was born and we reminded ourselves that they are just as capable of doing this on their own as we were. My solution: I have learned to shut up first, and ask Dawn second. Emily has no idea how many times Dawn has told me to "just forget about it". This has prevented me from putting my foot in my mouth many times. Dawn also tries her best to consult me before bringing something up to Emily but let's face it, she's a lot smarter than I am and probably doesn't need to.

The inner struggle of wishing they would have waited and absolutely falling in love with this little person is real.

The dirty little secret of being young parents and young grandparents is that I do wish Emily and Garrett would have waited some more time before starting their family. Shortly after they told us that she was pregnant, Emily reminded me that they were older than Dawn and I were when we started our family. Curses! Outsmarted by math again! I thought that this feeling would simply go away the day Avery was born. Nope. It's less prominent, but it's still there. Dawn was 18 and I was 21 when Emily was born. I know how hard it is at that age. Now, I tell myself that I wish they would have waited a little longer, but only if they could have still given us Avery. But not really. Yes, the struggle is real.

Words cannot describe the pride in seeing your child transition to being a parent.

I still get choked up when I think about my baby girl being a mom. She is truly a remarkable young woman. She works, goes to school, raises a child, and deeply cares for other people. I have been proud of what she has done throughout her life, and being a mommy is just one more amazing thing to watch her do. She is a vegetarian (and Garrett is a self-described meatatarian) but she still cooks meat for Avery. She gives her daughter a fun-filled life and enjoys taking her to the library, the zoo, and to places that will stimulate a toddler's brain. Being a young parent isn't easy, but Emily and Garrett do it with grace and a smile. One by-product of becoming a grandparent at a young age is that I vividly remember my daughter at the same age her daughter is now. There are so many days when she is Emily Junior, and Garrett's parents (our co-grandparents in crime) tell us she is just like him as well. What I couldn't have imagined is how similar she can be to her Auntie Makenzy (and probably her Nawnie Amber).

Having been a grandfather for just two years now, I can't wait to learn more about this incredible new role in my life. I am thoroughly enjoying watching Emily and Garrett turn into the wonderful parents they are, right before my eyes. And the joy of watching Avery grow up is incredible.

Happy Birthday Avery. I love you. And thank you Emily and Garrett for giving us this gift.

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