I have been celebrating Father's Day for some thirty odd years. It has been an unique and wonderful experience every one. This year is the first year that I will be celebrating Father's Day as a grandfather and that is a totally different experience.
In previous posts I have written about the cradle that I made for my grandchild who was born on June 9, 2011. As it turns out it was a baby girl who was as pretty as anyone could imagine a new born to be. My wife and I are immensely happy with our first grand child. It is certainly a different experience than being a parent for the first time.
I remember when I became a father for the first time over thirty years ago. It was an incredible mixture of thoughts and emotions. It was a joyful experience because now I was a father. At the same time I was filled with anxiety. Not having a father for most of my life I was not sure how to be a father; I had no role model. Strange as it may sound, I took my cue from literature and philosophy. I tried to emulate father's that had read about and I tried to incorporate the social and moral philosophy that was still very fresh in my mind. You see, I had just graduated from university when my first child was born. Life was still very theoretical and idealistic.
It did not take long before I realized that the real world creates its own unique challenges that no amount of theory or philosophy can entirely address. It really boiled down to a few basic principles that I was not really aware of but looking back they governed my learning as a new father. I was ferociously protective of my child. I was not going to let anything in the known universe get in the way of my child's well being. I quickly learned that patience was a virtue to be valued above all others and when I ran out of patience, I just had to call up more because a new born requires an infinite amount of patience. I quickly learned the mechanics of being a father, changing diapers, helping with feeding and comforting and everything else. I realized that my life had been changed forever. for the better. Is this not why we are here, to ensure that the next generation will grow and prosper?
When we had our second and then our third child fathering became more natural but no less difficult. Each child presents his or her own unique challenges from the very instant that they are born and then throughout their entire lives. It still amazes me how the same two sets of genes can produce off spring so completely different yet in so many ways completely the same. It is truly a miracle of genetics and evolution.
Now thirty years later I am a grandfather. Some men feel depressed by this fact. I feel that I have progressed to the next stage of life. There is now another generation of my my descendants on the planet. Again, this is cause for joy and for anxiety. The joy is in seeing my children become new parents. I realize that they will struggle with parenting like we did but the difference is that they will not need to learn in the same vacuum of experience that we did. We are there to share our experiences with them.
I hope that I have learned enough and acquired enough wisdom in the thirty odd years that I have spent as a father to give even a few wise words to help my children in their endeavor to become parents. Yet, realize that the same principles still apply, a fierce protective love of our children and an infinite supply of patience will get them through most of their trials.
As a grandfather, I have the luxury and the privilege of building furniture for my grand child. I have already made a cradle and a change table. I have a a little time to make the crib for my granddaughter as well. I could easily have gone out and bought these items but that would be all to easy and it does not allow me to share in the experience of parenting a new child. By making these things with my hands I feel connected to my children and to my granddaughter, When she sleeps in the cradle that I built we are connected. The time and effort that I put into making this furniture is a fraction of the time that new new parents devote to their new born babies.
So, in the end, being a grand father is a delightful experience. You have all of the benefits of parenthood with very few of the obligations. This is why i can devote my time to making furniture for my granddaughter and writing posts on my blog about being a father and grand father.