One of the cool things about having a kid is sharing them with those you love. I'm, fortunately, very close to my parents and always have been. But becoming a grandpa changed my father — not in any big, substantial way, but in a few subtle, small ways — and I have to admit that I've never been closer to him than I am now that I have children. Being a grandpa agrees with him. And, of course, he's not the only dad to have his life changed by the presence of a grandchild.
Romper asked other moms to share the sweet ways their fathers changed after becoming grandpas and, well, if you don't have tissues nearby, go ahead and grab some. I'll wait.
Case in point: a few days ago, my dad asked if he could buy my son, in his words, a "seven-million-piece Lego set." He described how cool it was, and how my kid could make anything he wanted. When I thanked him for the sweet gesture, but said that the last thing my 8-year-old kid needed was more Legos, I swear I could hear him pout through the phone. "You're no fun!" he replied.
Um, where's my dad? Because this man ain't him. My father was Mr. "No." Mr. "Ask Santa." Mr. "That's What Your Allowance Is For, But Really You Should Put All Your Money Into A Savings Account For Retirement And Yes I Know You're Only 7 But It's Never Too Early To Start." But as time and the elements can smooth even craggy mountains, so too can becoming a grandfather change dads. Need more proof? Read on.
"How do I describe my dad as a granddad without crying? I'm very close to my dad and as a child, I truly idolized him. I think the biggest change is seeing him be so carefree. He's retired and financially in a great place, so he just never seems worried like when I was a kid and everything was paycheck to paycheck. Otherwise, he is the same. Some people see their dads as more fun or nicer as grandparents, but my dad was such an amazing dad and always kind, patient, and fun. My daughter looks at him exactly how I did and it is beautiful."
"He let his granddaughter get goats. Goats. This man didn’t want to let us have a cat in the house, and he built them a beautiful goat paradise in his yard. I can’t."
"When my first son was born the delivery went very badly and was pretty traumatic for my husband and I. Our baby was having seizures in the NICU and we were terrified. ... We had just been told he had to get sent to Yale because they were the closest hospital with the type of thermal therapy to stop his tiny brain from swelling. My dad, who has never taken days off of his work for anything ... walked in still in his coveralls and his nose bright red from the freezing windchill. He went straight to my husband and thanked him for taking such good care of me through my 40-hour labor and then to me to say how proud he was of me for being the best mom already. Then a few minutes later they brought [my son] in for us to see before he was transferred. My dad said, 'This is the best day of our lives, even though it is scary, this is the best day of my life. He’s going to be great.'
In that instant I kind of believed him. We have had our struggles with [my son] because of his birth, but my dad was right. It was the best day of my life. I look back at it so grateful to my dad for being there to appreciate the amazing experience we were having. Today [my son] is 9 and amazing. My dad was just what we all needed to bring some positivity to light that cold and terrifying morning."
Cait & Emma
Cait: "I love my dad. He has been a very dedicated and loving father. But there is a light that beams from his face as a granddad. ... He very specifically picked out each of the boys' security animals."
Emma: "Our kids have the best granddad! My son [is] 6 months [and] received his stuffed animal from my dad last week. He had been planning this for months. He asked to see all the puppy stuffed animals that were in the back of the store so he could carefully find the most perfect one. He inspected each one; holding the paws and dangling it with his arm straight down to see how it would feel because he knew that’s how [my son] would carry it around. Cait’s boys have their 'Ted,' and now [my son] has his 'Pup.'"
"My dad has always been very hands-on as he was a single dad from the time I was 13. But with grandchildren it is on a whole new level. For example, I needed him to take my daughter to dance class for a few weeks when our youngest was born. Well, he ran with that responsibility and that has become 'his thing' to do with his granddaughter. Two years later and he still takes her most weeks. Not only that, he participates in the father-daughter dance with her each year in the recital, too!"
"My [step-dad] was always a great dad, but he was an extraordinary grandpa. I remember one moment when my mom took my oldest shopping for back-to-school clothes one time with me. She texted him a picture of him riding one of those little 75 cent rides at the mall. And he immediately texted back, 'Damn, I love that kid.' My mom and I teared up because it was just an organic response that was so him. He passed away three years ago and that moment is precious to me."
"My dad is a hulking big Southern ex-football player who secretly has Tim Gunn's fashion sense, and while he loves having a grandson to do sporty boy stuff with, he gets so much enjoyment out of buying cute little shoes for my 2-year- old daughter, and brushing and styling her hair. As the father of two daughters, he always liked taking us clothes shopping, but he's at a whole new level as a grandpa."
"I’m an only child and I was and still am a huge daddy’s girl... when I was first pregnant with my first child, a boy, my dad was smitten. He took pics of me saying 'my baby is having a baby!' From the minute my son was born my dad was changed.
I grew up with a very loving dad, but also one who yelled a lot. However, since my son was born , he has never raised his voice and my son is his world. Three years later I had my daughter, who has him wrapped around her finger. He literally would do anything for them. He recently had his second knee replacement and is in a lot of pain but told me 'if I was dying I would crawl to their soccer game or dance class'... and it’s true. He would do anything for them. They do no wrong in his eyes. It makes me so happy to know my kids are so so loved."
"My step-dad married my mom when I was 5. They were unable to have children together. When my first daughter was born it was his first real experience with a newborn. When he held her he just kept saying, 'This is so f*cking cool!' I don't know that his personality has changed much, but watching all the firsts for him has been really fun."
"The dad I remember growing up was caring, but also an incredibly serious man. As a grandpa, he is such a huge goofball that it was shocking to me at first. He will play dress up, let the kids ride on his back like he's a horse, do funny voices... It's the most bizarre and amazing thing I've witnessed."
"My dad talks baby talk now. No one else in our family does. But with grandbabies he turned into mush. It's weird."
"My dad was pretty gruff growing up. When I got pregnant, he downloaded The Bump app so he would know what size fruit the baby was each week. Once, he left me a voicemail asking how his 'grandraspberry' was doing."