Across Generations

My father is a private man. I am not like him in this regard, but we share the traits of introspection, intensity, and curiosity. He is a man of his generation, which meant our relationship sometimes felt distant to me when I was younger; he was focused on providing for his family’s needs, and expressing tender emotion was not a language he knew well. His love comes out as worry and preparation against difficulty. As I grew up, he was serious and strict, and I was stubbornly resistant in subtle, and later blatant, ways. But a grandfather’s relationship with his grandchild is different by orders of magnitude. I wondered how my father would interact with Claire. What I witnessed was the unfolding of his delight and tenderness, of patience and amusement and amazement. I’m sure I was once the recipient of similar expressions, but I was too little to register them, and so it was a reward for me to observe them together. Claire brought him book after book to read, and she enjoyed playing the What’s In Grandpa’s Shirt Pocket? game. This photo of them is a gem.

grandpa and claire
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7 Comments on “Across Generations”

  1. Joyce Says:

    This photo is a gem, indeed. Is there a cat on the back of the couch?????

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Yes, that’s Stella, all comfy and safe from little hands.

  3. gerry rosser Says:

    Yup, a gem.

    I am lucky enough to be the grandpa in this type of wonderful relationship, without having had the work of raising any children!

  4. marta Says:

    Grandparents get to enjoy an entirely different relationship with their grandchildren. Maybe it’s the only way all that baggage gets set right.

  5. Karen Says:

    A long time to wait but not too long to wait to see it all so perfectly. Yes, little girls have a way of working themselves into Grandpa’s pocket, the one where the heart is.

  6. Angela Says:

    Kathryn, You describe my mother to a tee! But as a grandmother she was and still is so soft and full of affection. Even now with her eldest grandchild 26, she greets them with warm hugs and cuddles. Mum and I love each other dearly, but our greeting is a ‘hi, how are you?’ Hugs are only for airports. Enjoy that feeling, I really do believe that it was their generation where outward affection wasn’t easy to show. Angela, Australia

  7. William Sackinger Says:

    Kathryn, I am glad that he finally is having the hands-on opportunity to appreciate the wonders of being a grandfather! Not something to delay, or to shy away from, but to embrace, and to give love to the grandchild while you can still do it.
    Last week, I drove my brother Tom to San Clemente where he will visit his son Steve for the winter; a communication opportunity and a reunity opportunity during each moment of our 5-day drive!