Ever since Robin was born last summer, I’ve been thinking about what it is that grandparents are for. I don’t care to go over the top with it, Robin is not my child, and I am not an integral part of her life. She has two wonderful parents who will shepherd her through life.
I am not close enough to see her regularly, but we absolutely do connect when we do meet and I am understanding what my role in this is. I think I am meant to pass along certain truths and feelings and wisdoms about life to her, not in words or declarations or preaching, but in love and connection.
I see this process is both instinctive and biological. In a strange sense, I have learned some of this from dogs. Fate and I connect on a strong level, we touch the independent and unpredictable and distracted spirit in one another. We see the fun and the pirate in one another.
A grandchild is not a dog, nor do I wish her to be. For me, a dog is never a child, and a child is never a dog, and people who forget the difference will regret it.
But love is a powerful teacher, and Robin and I already love one another. She knows me, even if she rarely sees me, and in a sense I know her. I hope pass along to her my passion for living my life, taking some risks, avoiding a hollow or substitute life based on money and security.
Her parents will guide her much more than I will, and that is the way it should be. But I have things to pass along to her, and they are not in words or teachings, they are in my life, and my heart, and in the way I love and think and struggle so restlessly to figure out how to live.
I think that is what a grandfather is for, that and to offer love. Robin has entered the age of wonder and discovery, she sits up, rolls over and gazes thoughtfully at the world. She is curious and open.