Monday, July 10, 2017

Parenthood: Week 212 - (Grand)father Of Mine-Part 2

As a teacher, one of the things that helps me understand my students is when I meet their parents. Often students share rhythmic speech patterns and hand gestures with their parents. My students just make more sense, just like anyone you meet when you get a sense of where they came from and how they came to be the person that you know.

In a similar way, seeing my father as a grandfather has helped me understand myself as a father.

I see it in the way that both my dad and me love trying to make babies laugh (he was one of the first people to get Ollie to laugh). There’s the determination I saw recently when he worked for a long time with a lot of patience to get my newest baby niece to go to sleep. I was similar when Ollie was a baby, refusing to give up on trying to get Ollie to sleep, even when the best call would be to let Diana tag in and give it a try.

I get my sense of humor from my dad and Ollie experience the same silliness, the same kinds of jokes from both of us. The pride that he has in Ollie, and the fascination he has in Ollie’s development, perspectives and who Ollie is as person mirrors the love I have for my special little guy.

Ollie sees the similarities in us as well and looks to both of us for similar things. When we are eating dinner, Ollie is more than happy to sample our food, sometimes eating half of our plates. While I get more annoyed at my father about this because it happens more often to me than my dad, we both end up sharing what we have with Ollie. My dad often finds Ollie watching him brush his teeth. Ollie wants to join in with my father and like Ollie watching me get ready he is fascinated by this process.

I remember my father teaching me how to ride a bike and how to drive and many other things. He’s a great teacher and I get many of my instincts as a teacher from my dad. However, my dad never explicitly taught me how to be a dad, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn how to be a dad from him.

I know how I feel about my dad, because of how he loved me and how he raised me. I want my son to have that same feeling. Something deep inside of me knows what my father did to foster that feeling inside of me.  That knowledge no longer a memory in my head, became an instinct in my heart.  When I see my father make the same silly face that I do to get my son to laugh it all comes together in a meaningful feeling of completeness. Through the love I see my father express to my son, I get a glimpse into how my father loved me as a child.

This is an incredible view into my past, my present and my future.  I have my son to thank for all of this and so much more.

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