2010-10-28 / Sam Bari

With grandkids, grandparents rule

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

The privileges of parenthood are many. Unfortunately, we generally don’t realize the impact of those privileges until we become grandparents. Only then do we understand the rewards of enduring parenthood.

For instance, we can spoil our grandchildren to the point that they are beyond insufferable, for no other reason than it amuses us.

Now why would that amuse us, you ask?

The answer is simple. When one becomes a grandparent, a day of enlightenment occurs — an epiphany as it were. Grandparents learn quickly that retribution for all the suffering they endured as parents is theirs for the taking.

For instance, I just financed a year’s worth of drum lessons for my grandson. He loves playing the drums so much that he practices two hours a day, and sometimes four on the weekends.

When my son asked me why I did this, with a beatific smile on my face, I said to him: “Because I love him, of course . . . What?” Should I have denied my grandchild an opportunity to express his creativity? This could be the beginning of a fantastic musical career. One day he could be the principal percussionist in the New York Philharmonic.

My son thinks that my grandson’s musical future is more akin to being the drummer in the second coming of “Kiss,” or “Motley Crue.”

Whatever . . . I hope he’s right.

When I mentioned this, my son said: “If he lives long enough to realize the experience.” That statement was followed by, “Dad — he’s driving us crazy. If the noise doesn’t stop, I’m moving.”

“Have patience, my son,” I say. “Today’s noise is tomorrow’s music.”

Ha! Even I don’t believe that. He will never play his father’s favorite ballad on the drums. Heh-heh. I hang up the telephone and laugh maniacally.

My son does not remember the various moments of intense excitement that I experienced while he was doing his best to assure that his parents did not survive his childhood.

He forgot about when he figured out how to open the window to his second floor bedroom so he could crawl out onto the porch roof and sit in the gutter while he waved to people passing in the street. He was not quite twoyears old at the time.

He does not recall when he pushed all of the furniture in his room in front of the door so we couldn’t open it. Unfortunately, he wasn’t big enough to pull the furniture out and put it back where it belonged.

Consequently, I had to traipse through three-feet of snow carrying an extension ladder so I could lean it under a second-story window, which I had to break, so I could get into his room. He was almost three.

He conveniently does not remember those charming little incidents that are now anecdotes, which I tell whenever I want to really embarrass him. They still haunt me in my dreams.

My son is still reeling from the paint ball set I bought my grandson last Christmas. I must admit — that was very amusing indeed.

So, I have had my retribution and all is forgiven, right?

Wrong! Not even close.

I can’t wait to see the expression on my son’s face when I give my grandson a brand new Harley Davidson car when he turns 16. What’s that? Harley Davidson doesn’t make cars, you say.

Oh, Darn! That’s right. They only make motorcycles. Loud motorcycles, without mufflers. Wait till I tell him that I had one and I parked it in the living room so it wouldn’t be stolen.

I am sure that my son will extend the same courtesy to my most favorite grandson. After all, he wouldn’t want him to lose a gift from his grandfather to common thieves. Perish the thought.

Not too long ago my son asked if we could have a heart-to-heart. You know, one of those conversations between a father and son that makes the bond grow stronger.

I went to his house and saw the bags under his eyes, the slight graying at the temples, the cartoon-like spirals that took the place of his eyeballs.

The first words from his mouth were: “Why dad? Why are you doing this to me?”

I explained in careful measured tones: “Because it amuses me. One day your turn will come.”

Being a grandparent is a really wonderful part about living in a system we can’t understand.

Return to top