“A Grand Decade”
By Jerry Zezima
On March 30, 2013, a date which will live in infancy, I became a grandfather.
I remember that day like it was yesterday, which is amazing since I can’t remember where I put my house key, what I had for lunch or whether I left the bathroom light on.
And that was today.
Still, I am deliriously happy to be celebrating 10 years of grandparenthood.
In the past decade, my wife, Sue, and I have welcomed five grandchildren, enough not only to count on the fingers of one hand but also to make a basketball team.
The problem is that the kids are better than I am in both math and hoops, although at my age, I am a better dribbler.
The oldest two, the daughters of our younger daughter and her husband, are sisters. The older girl is now 10, the younger one is 6. The youngest three, the children of our older daughter and her husband, are siblings. The oldest is a boy who just turned 6, the youngest two are twins, a girl and a boy who will turn 4 this summer.
If you think your kids grow up fast, wait until you have grandchildren.
The grandkids have passed me up intellectually and are more mature than I am.
I have often been asked if I spoil my grandchildren. The answer: No. That’s my wife’s job. My job is to corrupt them.
I take this responsibility very seriously, even though my antics with the kids can hardly be considered serious.
Making them laugh, especially at inopportune moments, is a specialty. My daughters, who must have haunting flashbacks to the days when I did this stuff with them, will simply roll their eyes, all the better not to see me doing incredibly silly things with their children, who have come to regard me as their favorite toy.
I have heard plenty of contemporaries say that the best thing about being a grandparent is that after spending time with the kids, you can give them back to their parents.
Not me. I don’t want to give them back. I want to keep playing with them so we can continue having fun and I can then sleep so well that I won’t get up three times in the middle of the night to visit the porcelain convenience.
The difference between children and grandchildren, aside from the spelling, is that your grandchildren are happy to be with you, whereas your children, when they were the same age, not only didn’t want to be seen with you, they didn’t want other people to know you even existed.
I love and am proud of my daughters, who have grown up to be great people and wonderful mothers. That’s because they take after their mother.
Speaking of Sue, she is known to our grandchildren as Nini. I am Poppie.
When introducing myself to the kids’ friends or the parents of their friends, as well as neighbors, teachers and even complete strangers, I will smile broadly, extend my hand and chirp, “Hi! I’m Poppie.”
The kids will giggle appreciatively. Their mothers will practically suffer whiplash while looking away in total humiliation.
There are several important things I have learned in my first decade of having grandchildren.
The first is that mine are the smartest, funniest, happiest, most adorable, talented, fantastic, loving, beautiful (you get the idea) grandchildren who ever lived. It’s just a fact. Accept it.
The second is that they come in handy for solving everyday problems, especially those that involve technology. Not long ago, two of my granddaughters were visiting and asked me to turn on their favorite cartoon. I was fiddling with the three remotes it takes to find the right channel when one of the kids, who’s 6, looked at me in utter disbelief and said, “You don’t know how to work your own TV?”
Then she grabbed a remote and instantly found the cartoon. I am thinking of hiring her as my IT person.
The most important thing about being a grandparent is that you should never turn down an opportunity to be with the kids and, especially, to do fun things with them. We’ve baked cupcakes, gone to the zoo, jumped on a trampoline, ridden on a carousel, gone out for ice cream, played board games, painted pictures, put on nail polish, blown bubbles, splashed in kiddie pools, attended dance recitals, gone to the beach and done so much more.
Sue and I thank our daughters and sons-in-law, who have raised the kids with love and laughter, for letting us be such a big part of our grandchildren’s lives.
It’s been a decade I’ll never forget. I just wish I could remember where I put my house key.
Copyright 2023 by Jerry Zezima