I know. You think I don’t know. I’m the eternal outsider. But after ten years together, I have to take some responsibility for my wife’s children and grandchildren. Not a lot of responsibility. Just being nice. They’re all awful. Starting with the great grandchild. He’s a bruiser. His daddy’s a veteran. His mommy is small. I haven’t met him yet. But I’ll be resentful for sure.
Which leads to my first rule of grandfathers.
1. Don’t overdo the love babies thing. Babies do lots of disgusting things. When their moms ask you to hold them, plead frailty.
Unfortunately in this day and age, grandchildren are likely to come in assorted ages. I have one who is so mean and selfish that she reminds me of me. And she’s not even Scottish. Though she’s six. Which is the exact emotional age of most Scottish men. Thank God she’s Irish. But. She’s so predictable, she manipulates everyone, stares at me until I stare back at her, which makes her giggle, leading to Rule two.
2. Horrifyingly nasty granddaughters need to be teased, stared at, and told what to do.
I know it sounds impossible. It isn’t. Take it from me, Instapunk. My granddaughter thinks I’m really cool. She peeled pistachio nuts for me last week. Two for him, one for me, she announced. I told her she was okay.
3. Teenage granddaughters turn into women overnight. But the older you get, the more you remember they’re still little girls.
Have a college girl granddaughter. I think she likes me because I’ve actually tried to talk with her. Successfully. But to me she still seems fourteen. So I disapprove of all her boyfriends automatically, and she’s able to bridge the gap because she calls me Robert.
You know what, though? I’ve told her exactly what my hopes and fears are for her regarding education. And she listened. She’s getting A’s now, but I fret about her living alone at home in the old neighborhood.
There’s a grandson or two too. One too old to think of any connection. But I think we might be moving toward at least a rapprochement. It’s a long leap we have to overcome. His father is a construction worker. He’s a computer scientist who sidelines as a construction worker. I used to be in the computer business, after having been a truck driver in a lumber yard. No chance of any commonalities.
4. Grandsons think you’re deadmen. Don’t disabuse them of their presumption. Surprise them with your longevity.
It takes boy children a long long — did I mention long — time to recognize that men might have advice for men.
Annoying. We didn’t all run out on our families screwing every babe at the country club and every secretary in the office, but… Enough of us did. Which is screwing our sons too. And our daughters.
Grandfathers have to field every kind of ball bouncing out of the infield.
5. Grandfathers have to hold the line. Right is right, wrong is wrong, even if your granddaughter has a crush on her cousin. Even if they seem to be moving drugs around. Somebody has to be willing to levy judgment. (Not saying this is happening. Just being hypothetical. Another GF task.)
6. Grandfathers have to be willing to die for rules one through five. Sorry.
7. Don’t look like me.
If you need any clarification of the rules, I’m happy, or at least willing, to oblige.