I'm Pretty Sure I May Have Just Become A Terrible Grandparent
One dad's perspective on the moment you find out the news
It was hot as hell, and I couldn't believe they didn't sit our group inside.
Yet here we were, sitting in a covered patio with old school fans blowing warm air on us on a 95 degree Texas summer afternoon. And worse than that is we were about to be served some chips and salsa.
Have you ever eaten spicy food when your body is already hot AF, and there's sweat trickling down your back?
Nonetheless, it was my daughter's rehearsal dinner, and I had zero right to complain. And that's why I kept all of this to myself and smiled. The day was about her and her soon-to-be husband, not the overly heated dad who gets easily irritated when it's too dang hot outside.
But I digress.
The dinner was actually really lovely, and truth be told, once the waiter brought over a couple of ice-cold beers, things felt a bit better. Probably a combo of the chilled bottle in my hand and, well, the beer.
The second one made it all the nicer.
Family strolled in little by little. Before we knew it, the sun and dipped. It fell just enough to drop the temps a tad, and it was that tad that made it more comfortable.
That's right about the moment my daughter and her fiance came over to our table, right up to my wife and me, and handed us a card.
I was confident it was a thank you card for being there, but the fact that she and Zach (his name is Zach) stood there and watched me got me curious.
But it was a weird curiosity.
I opened the card and kept a smile on my face. Although in hindsight, I'll admit I was kinda half forcing a smile due to the lingering feeling of "what the hell is happening here."
I pulled the card out and felt my wife peeping over my right shoulder.
It said, "Congrats on your graduation from doggy grandparents!"…then I opened it, and it said…"To human grandparents! Little baby Renda is coming in January 2022!"
And that freeze was not what anyone expected, least of all myself. Plus the thing is, I'm not exactly sure why I froze. But in a way, I did know.
I was gonna be a grandpa.
Hearing that you're going to be a grandpa for the first time is probably one of the most amazing things in the world. So why wasn't I jumping for joy? What the hell was it I was feeling, and why is it so foreign to me?
Now to be clear with you, everything I just wrote passed through my brain in about 0.3 seconds because while that zipped through my cerebellum, my physical body stood up and squeezed my daughter tight and her fiance even tighter. I was gonna be a grandpa, and they were gonna be parents.
Is that strange how my body acted rationally and hugged them while my brain was hitting a brick wall trying to figure out this odd rush of emotion?
My little girl was so caught up in the excitement of her day and the new baby, that as soon as the hug ended, there was someone else there for a second hug and just like that in a matter of like 7.8 seconds after I opened the envelope, felt a new feeling, hugged her and released, she was on to the next table.
My wife saw it though.
My wife knew it though.
She knew exactly what I was feeling.
It was more than my little girl is having a baby. She knew exactly what it was. It was us entering a whole new stage in life.
The grandparent zone.
It also meant my parents were entering the great-grandparent zone. But between us, I kinda feel like going from grandpa to great-gramps is like going from the kitchen to the living room. But going from dad to grandpa?
Going from dad to grampa was like going from South Beach Miami to Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Life suddenly felt different, even though nothing had literally changed…yet.
And in realizing, feeling, and processing these newfound emotions, I also learned a lot about myself, and especially my daughter.
The biggest thing I learned was the fact that she's grown up. Yeah. My little girl is going to have a child, and even as I type that out, it feels so impossible.
To me, she's still in ponytails.
To me, she's still learning to play soccer for the first time.
To me, she's still having sleepovers with her friends down the street.
You see, the reason I couldn't process what I was feeling and felt so awkward, confused, and damn it, sad, was because it was the first time I actually felt and understood one glaring fact.
That she's no longer a little girl.
While I have memories of her growing up, my rush of emotions was because I'm sure I wasn't ready to let those memories go. I wanted her to stay as my little girl. And yet, I knew that that was never going to happen.
My rationale side knew she was all grown up, had been a teacher for two years, and was about to get married.
But my dad side, the unconscious part that had those memories burned in, refused to accept it.
Until the moment it did.
And that moment happened the next day.
My wife and I went window shopping. She saw a cute little boutique and a summer dress she wanted to try on. So we walked in.
She grabbed the dress, and I took the husband's seat next to the dressing room.
Then it caught my eye.
So I stood up and walked over to it.
A tiny little t-shirt that said, "I try to be good, but I take after my grandpa." And I lost it. I felt the tears well up, and I had to turn away because the sales lady was coming over.
I honestly cannot explain why this chain of events happened this way. Or why I had difficulty dealing with it. But all I can say is it was that little tee-shirt that helped me turn the corner.
My wife didn't get that dress.
But I walked out of there with a tiny little plastic bag and my grandson's first t-shirt, courtesy of grandpa.
Fuck yeah. I'm gonna be a grandpa.