There’s No Upside...
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Let Them Fly
It is interesting transitioning from being an active parent to becoming a passive Grandfather bystander. Both Shelly and I have been spending 23 years investing quality time in the development of our kids hoping to share with them and help them hone their skills to make the best decisions and choose the path that will lead to the least heartache and the most fulfillment and joy. With that being said, the difficult part is allowing our children their free agency and room to stretch their butterfly wings and fly. But let them fly we must, and fly we know they will.
I have never really been scared as to whether or not our kids will choose good over evil. We continue to watch them choose good. I think the hard part is when they pass through the phases when they want to make their decisions without any fatherly or parental input. This happened on many of the odd years during their maturation.. But nowadays it is the silence from Jessica towards me as her Father that is the hard part. Gone are the days when she would inquire as to what I thought on any given situation or major decision. It is their choice to make their decisions without even inquiring with me as to whether or not they are missing anything in their evaluation of their decision options. It is the lack of even inquiring on their part that digs deep into my soul. Knowing that my opinion and life experiences could be of great help, yet I am left to quietly standing back knowing that my input is not desired.
I used to watch the older generation quietly sit by and watch without interference. I am understanding this more and more each day. I am finding myself making this transition to becoming an observer. I am still full of advice and desire to help, but I am more and more willing to step back unless asked. I am certain that I will continue to yell and scream warnings if I see them heading downstream towards a waterfall, but I have got to figure out how to silently stand back satisfied that quiet prayers and the best of hopes on my part will give them the feeling of continued support.
PHOTO THOUGHTS - The photo above was snapped as I watched Jessica pull off Rolf and Poppy’s second birthday party at the Dinosaur Park in Ogden about a month ago. She had her hands full with 3 kids, but you could see her glow in her role as Mother. Jessica has quickly matured into the role and her devotion to the three little ones is continually evident. Dividing her time is not an option, because it is currently her full-time 24 hour job.
It brings tears to my eyes knowing that Jessica and Dave are now as far away from us as possible and we cannot be their to enjoy the events of their daily lives. The selfish side of me says, “Rolf and Poppy were just getting to be fun. Who is going to teach them how to fish? Who is going to spend time teaching them to throw and catch. And while it is hard on me, it is extremely painful to Shelly... But I will let her express her own loss. I feel really sad for Aaron, because he has spent so much time with Rolf and Poppy in their first two years and his ability to learn how to be the best of uncles to them has now been stripped away due to Jess and Dave’s move to Cape Cod. It may be pretty on the East Coach beaches, but the ability for Aaron to spend regular time with them is a blessing that cannot be replaced. The moments of separation is a choice and their are consequences. The costs of long distance relocation are many, and I don’t mean moving costs. I mean the loss of personal one on one experiences. Sure there are cell phones, Skype, and even videos and letters, but this can’t replace time spent together in the same room. But this is a lesson that can only be learned by this type of separation. And then there is my selfish fear that Jessica will be so busy with her young clan that she will not have time to notice.
So that clearly defines this new phase of Grandfatherhood. The phase of separation... The sound of silence... The era of apparent non-importance... I am left reflecting on the earlier years and hoping that enough was done in Jessica’s youth to allow her an incredible flight in her new life as a butterfly. I feel comfort, yet I still feel such a physical and emotional loss!!!