Grandpa! You Are Embarrassing Me
When Grandson Has Grown to Big to Play.
Families gathered huddling in small circles waiting for their future concert musician to come out. We had just finished Landon—my eldest grandson’s—Middle School holiday concert. He is a violinist.
Playfully, I reached over and tapped Bently, who is six and a first-grader, on the head with a rolled-up concert schedule.
I was a little surprised. Bentley and I have history. He is my bud. When over at the house, if I go for coffee, HE MUST COME ALONG. Of course, there is a bit of an ulterior motive—Vanilla Bean Frappuccino or a cookie. But I like to think he enjoys hanging out with his cool grandpa.
Recently, we were over at my son’s house for holiday festivities.
While waiting for the festive foods, I was sitting off alone on the couch. Bentley sneaks up to me. He leaned like he was letting me in on a secret and said, “Grandpa are you tired tonight?”
Having an idea where this is going, I play along, “Why?”
He gets this I-am-about-to-close-the-deal grin on his face and quietly says, “I thought you would like to play fight.”
At some point in the night, I finally conceded. Bentley and I played around with kicks and punches thrown for a few minutes before Grammy and I went home.
Children stay young and playful for only so long. My eldest two g-kids, you can hardly peel them away from their phones long enough for a grunt.
“So, Landon or Savanna, How are you?”
“Landon, how is school?”
“Savanna, how is dance?”
“Landon, how is orchestra?”
“Have you robbed your first bank?”
Eyes dart up, “Okay,” then back down to the three-by-six inch glowing screen.
I know, I know, tweens and teens are into their friends. I get that. I was a teenager once. A switch in your psyche turns on, and your FRIENDS become the center of the universe. One day, the reality of adulthood creeps in, and those people you lived with most of your life—your family—become an essential part of your life to you again.
Grammy and I offered to take the tweens to Howl-O-Scream, the most popular event for teens and young people at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Landon and Savanna blew off our last invitation.
We took Landon and Savanna one other time. Both disappeared with some friends who were already in the park. The two showed up like two dogs at Thanksgiving table when it was time to eat, then vanished for a couple of more hours.
Unbeknownst to me, the kids prefer NOT to hang out with grammy and grandpa. We are not fun anymore.
Oh well, such is life. You love them and relate to them where they will meet you.
Back to the school concert.
I tapped Bentley on the head again. He looked serious. “Grandpa! Stop!
I inquired, “Bently, I thought you liked to play?”
With a sheepish look on his face, “You are embarrassing me.”
Perplexed, I inquired again, “Embarrassed, why would you be embarrassed? We play all the time.”
He glanced over at another group and back, “A girl from my school is over there.”
Saddened by the affair, I relented. My little buddy is growing up. I think he might even have a crush on a girl.
Because of Bentley’s growing awareness, our time for a close connection seems to be coming to an end.
The last time I offered to take him with me for coffee and to pick up the pizza, he chose to stay at our house. His little sister was excited. Luna-Baloona, my nickname for the feisty two and a half-year-old who thinks she is 30.
“Do you want to go with grandpa to pick up the pizza?”
Running to get her coat and shoes and with a big smile, she said, “Yesh.”
Later, I found out that Bentley was negotiating a settlement with Santa. So, I cut him some slack.
Then this happened at the school. The handwriting is on the wall. Bentley is becoming peer conscious.
When did six years olds become so conscious of what others think?
I have come to expect that type of behavior from teens, but a first-grader? Perhaps, his older two siblings have influenced him. I don’t know. I haven’t given up yet.
I watched his older brother and older sister go through the same phase. I reach out to them in hopes that when they become adults, our relationships will cement.
I turn 58 soon. I have watched hours turn into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. They all seem like moments. By good health and no misfortune, I will be 80 before you know it. I hope that the circle will close and they will comprehend the depths of my love for each of them.
Life is short. Times are not always sweet. Cherish the moments with your loved ones. Then life will be complete.