Tuesday, February 19, 2008


My father was raised by serious, practical parents to be serious and practical. A philosophy major in college and spending over 20 years in the military, my father still manages to be serious and practical. If there is a silly side to him, I have never seen it.

Children seem to be a mystery to him. Not only are they rarely serious and practical, they don't even seem to value either characteristic. Especially Andrew. Andrew is silly through and through. It might even be his key descriptor.

So imagine my surprise when talking to Andrew about his grandparents visiting this past weekend when all he could talk about was Granddaddy. Grandmama walks through the door and Andrew smiles and is a little shy. Granddaddy walks through the door and Andrew yells "Granddaddy!!!"

During their visit my mom would get down on the floor and play with Andrew. She played "this little piggie" and "where's Andrew's belly button?" and she would hoot and clap when Andrew showed off his couch cushion acrobatics. Meanwhile, my dad watched quietly or played with his Blackberry. This did not deter Andrew, and even seemed to be a welcome challenge. He would crawl on the floor behind the coffee table and pop up to get Granddaddy's attention and then would laugh wildly when Granddaddy would look up and smile or say the occasional 'boo!' Granddaddy was brought books to read and toys to see and there was even an attempt at snuggling with Granddaddy while watching the Charlie Brown Valentine DVD.

I am interested to see what happens with these two over the years. I think that Andrew has great hopes of tapping into Granddaddy's silly side that the rest of us have given up on. And I think my dad has great hopes that Andrew will grow to be silly and loving and come to appreciate seriousness and practicality...maybe even manifesting these attributes himself on occasion.

Whatever does happen, it makes me appreciate the differences that each family has and how the people in those families navigate those differences the best they can hopefully learning from each other on the way.

And who knows? Maybe there is some silly left in my dad and Andrew might be just the person to find out.


Tara Whalen said...

If anyone can do it, Andrew can.

Go Andrew go! Bring on the sillies!

Tara said...

Very sweet - you're dad is probably dying to unleash his silly side - he just needs Andrew to help him. He has a Blackberry?!

Firefly said...

My mom always tells a story about the time my sister, as a toddler, crawled up into my grandpa's lap. My mom said she had no memory of any physical demonstrations of affection between her father and herself or her siblings, so she froze with fear witnessing my sister's presumption. But as it turns out, my grandpa was delighted. I don't know when the change happened, but the man I experienced as my grandpa was one of the most physically affectionate men I've ever known--always full of hugs and kisses. My mom thinks my sister somehow broke the ice. Those two always had a special bond--they were even born on the same birthday. Your story about Andrew makes me think of my sister and my Grandpa.

thedanceofthegates said...

I like generations. I like the new things we learn about each other.