In this house that’s how I’m known! Call me Dandaddy.
Since our oldest daughter, Laura, gave birth to her daughter, Alyssa, eighteen months ago, they have lived in our home. If you had told us just how much fun this was going to be I dare say Isaura and I would not have believed it. A year ago Laura met a special man. Next month Laura and Ken will be getting married. This also means Laura and Alyssa will be moving out of our home. Trust me – there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth around here for a while!
I consider that Isaura and I were both very blessed to have been close to our grandparents. For both of us, we were strongly influenced by their lives. I can say that Bambi (Yup! That’s what we called her – my step father’s mother) was my best friend while I was growing up. She moved in with us when I was ten and she was seventy. She passed away at age 94. I was pastoring my first church in Fresno, and hers was the first funeral I performed as a minister. I miss her as much today as ever before. I would love to make her a cup of tea (She was from Boston, don’t you know!) and then just sit and talk.
As grandparents, Isaura and I have taken to our roles rather naturally. We have two granddaughters now, but with Brookie living in Turlock with parents Josh and Jenny, we don’t have the time to spend with her that we do with Alyssa who has lived in our home this past year and a half. Ken brings two children into the marriage, Daniel and DeziRay, so our number of grandchildren instantly doubles. We’re liking this grandparent thing!
The evenings are particularly special. Alyssa, who is as precocious as they come, will take one of her books out of her basket stored under the coffee table, hand it to me, then proceed to climb into my lap on the couch. She sits up against the crook of my arm with calm expectancy that I will then begin to read to her. She turns the pages as I intone whatever story is being told. When we’re finished with one book, she’ll climb down to get another. This one may have lots of pictures of vehicles, so we identify them by name: Truck – Car – Tractor – Ambulance. Or maybe it’s animals. We name the animal in the picture, then Alyssa makes the sound that animal makes. One of my favorites is CAT. Alyssa makes the sound, MOW (like cow). Another is for the ROOSTER. “Do-do-do-do-do!” says my little imitator. That’s what “cock-a-doodle-do” sounds like to her. Anyway, you get the idea. Then I ask her, “Alyssa, are we pirates?” She responds, “Arrrrrrgh!” It kills me!
Her next book is a favorite. It is a variety of Bible Songs. She has begun to sing with me recently, seeming to pick up on two words in particular: Jesus and Bible. There are some twelve to fourteen songs in the book, like “This Little Light of Mine,” “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” “Kumbaya,” “Do Lord,” and of course her favorite, “Jesus Loves Me.” I began singing this song to her when she was a newborn in Intensive Care fighting an infection. She had tubes and wires hooked everywhere. I used to go into the hospital just to hold her. It was winter, so I was wearing my black Marine Corps jacket. I would open the jacket and nestle her inside up against my chest as if to protect her from harm. She would sleep peacefully with the odor of the leather jacket finding its way into her little pushed-up nose.
When she wakes up in the morning she goes looking for me. “Dandaddy! Dandaddy!” can be heard throughout the house. Usually I have already left for work so Laura will take a picture of Alyssa with her cell phone and send it to my phone. I’ve even received some short video clips of Alyssa on my cell phone. Great invention, cell phones!
Laura and Ken bought Alyssa a child-sized plastic golf bag which has three clubs, three balls and two putting holes with a flag in each. Well, seeing as I love the game of golf, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass, so into the back yard we went to show Alyssa how the game is played. She’s a natural. LPGA, look out!
Among the many things I enjoy doing with her, my favorites are filling the hummingbird feeder, watering the potted plants in the back yard, and going for long walks with her in the child’s back pack.
Isaura loves being Grandma, only when Alyssa says Grandma, it comes out as “Meema.”
So, it’s Dandaddy and Meema around here anymore. And that’s just fine by us!