To the Granddaddy at the pool

One of the privileges of my summers is getting to assist the venerable Miss Sandy with swimming lessons at Shamrock pool. Now, full disclosure, I am only a sub for when one of my kids (bonafide instructors) cannot be there.  I am merely there for crowd control and the last stop before drowning but Miss Sandy knows I love "helping" her and she good-naturedly looks waaaaaaaay down the bench and calls me in from time to time.  Betsy is the last in our  line of Chambers swim teachers.  I don't know what I'll do when she graduates from this.  Maybe Miss Sandy will still need someone to smile and cheer and adjust goggles........

Anyhow, sometimes I go with my kids even when I'm not teaching subbing in, just to watch them teach and to see all the adorable  kids and their Mommies.  Remember, Shamrock Pool is my happy place - anytime I can be there is a great day!  So, the other evening I was there to watch.  After noting to myself that, yes, my children are surely the cutest and most wonderful swim instructors ever, I moved on to observing the parents. 

That's when I saw the Granddad.

He was so stinkin proud and it showed.  I declare, I think that if there were buttons on his swim shirt, they would've popped right off.  I grinned to myself and thought that perhaps this is a bit of overkill, even for a grandparent.  I mean, seriously, this was just the Moms and Tots class - the kids were no more displaying any athletic prowess than when they get pushed in the grocery cart at Publix.  I was able to figure out which pair his adoration was directed towards and couldn't for the life of me figure out why he was so proud.  The little fella wasn't even cooperating with his mommy!!!

Then my grandmother gene surfaced.  Then I understood.

He wasn't simply proud of his grandson's ability to be dunked repeatedly by the mother - this Papa was busting his buttons over his own daughter. Applauding the little fella was more of a smokescreen for the pride over the Mommy. He wasn't there by the pool to supervise swim instruction - he was there to watch his little girl - though as grown as grown could be - do her thing.  My heart so beat with his for a moment that I thought I'd had a transplant.  I got it.  I knew just what he was feeling.  His daughter was indeed doing a good job with that wiggly little boy and he sat right by the pool's edge to admire her with delight.  There was no mistaking it for me - the cheers for that Mommy were just disguised to look like they were meant for her son.

I had to look away and take several deep drinks of my Sodapalooza Diet Dr Pepper to wash away the lump in my throat.  I knew just what he was feeling.  That part of grandparenting that nobody explained.  At least not to me, anyways.  So, if you are yet to enter this stage of blessed bliss, allow me to share a nugget or two....

First of all, you'll not be old enough to be a grandparent.  Neither was I.  Probably never will be.  So it just might take you by surprise that your own offspring - who is barely old enough to carry a lunch box and board the bus, mind you - will be in charge of keeping a human alive.  Gulp.  Scary thought indeed.

But you'll adjust to that by deciding which grandmother title doesn't age you and debate about having liposuction and eyelid lifts just so everybody else can affirm what you already know - that you're not old enough to do this.  Then you can start looking forward to another little bundle to adore....and hope against all odds that he/she will adore you right back.  You stockpile as many ideas as possible to insure that will happen, including providing junk food and never having to be the bad guy.  Yeah, this is gonna be OK!!!

Then it comes.  The flood of grandparent love. They arrive and you hold them and they look you right in the eye.  Surely they are the cutest and most clever creatures ever to inhabit Planet Earth but that doesn't explain the width and depth of the emotions you feel.

Because there's something more.

At least for me, anyways.  Seeing my own child be a Mommy - and do such a cotton-pickin spectacular job at it - overwhelms me with a tidal wave of love and pride that I'd never expected.  It's not just the's my kid. I will always and forever be a Mom.  And experiencing joy at who my children are is timeless.  So is wanting to help them.  To encourage and cheer.  To give them a break (even from the job they love the most!).  To notice their successes (cuz let's face it - probably nobody else will!) and to empathize with their not-quite successes.  And to share their triumphs unabashedly because a grandparent is afforded grace and patience which aren't as easily extended to just plain parents.

I wanted to pull up a beach chair beside that G-Dad and cheer with him.  I wanted him to know I understood - and agreed with - his pride. 

And then I would've shown him my pictures.  Of all my trophies.  Swim lessons ended so I didn't get the chance.  But I know he'd have to agree - I have a right to feel blessed.