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The Grandpa Diaries

Jim Mahoney
April 10, 2023

It’s rare that I don’t hear grandparents say how much they love their grandchildren, cherish time spent with them, and often experience just pure joy. Maybe it’s because you realize by this stage how precious time really is to you. Maybe it’s because you see in them a certain innocence and your connection with them to the future. It’s a lot of things. Even now as my two grandchildren have become teenagers, I reflect on what watching them has caused me to learn, feel, and remember. I recently found notes from several years ago where I recorded stories from them that made me laugh and reminded me of a few of life’s important lessons. I’ll share three of what I’m calling my grandpa diaries.

Years ago, I used to travel a great deal for work visiting many cities across the US. I tried to always bring my grandkids something back. You know—a t-shirt from New York, cowboy boots from Nashville, a hat from Florida. Once when I handed my four-year-old a gift, undoubtedly a clothing type item, she whispered in my ear, “thank you. Next time, could you bring me a toy?” I smiled and whispered back, “yes.” It was a reminder that feedback from people, even four-year-olds can be valuable. Sometimes we should get people what they want.

To be fair, if I gave my grandkids solely what they wanted, the youngest, even to this day would insist on candy. But there clearly is a time for giving people what they want. On another occasion, I brought back a toy that was a sort of etch a sketch. My granddaughter loved it and designed me dozens of pictures from it. It nurtured a natural creative spark that still manifests itself today into paintings, crafts, and other art projects she makes for others. Sometimes we should give people what they need. Whether it’s an item to nurture a talent or teach a lesson, give people what they need— even when they don’t always see the need for it or in this case something you see in them that they don’t yet see in themselves.

That’s brings me to my last Grandpa story. I was driving to my daughter’s house to see the grandkids after a particularly nasty rainstorm and the sun had re-emerged. As I went to the front door of their house and knocked, I noticed a beautiful rainbow. At almost the same time, unbeknownst to me, the kids had just asked their mother about the appearance of the beautiful rainbow. She explained that the rainbow was God’s way of talking to us. No sooner than she said that came my door knock. The kids were startled and as the older rushed to the door she excitedly asked her mother, “Is that God? “ She opened the door, saw me, and answered her own question to Mom and her sister, “ No, it’s just Grandpa.” My last reminder—- don’t set expectations TOO high!

As we concluded Easter weekend, I was reminded of a pastor’s sermon years ago on this sacred Christian holiday. He shared with the congregation, “it’s hard to be a Sunday person in a Friday world.” Part of being a Sunday person includes forgiveness, redemption, personal leadership, and of course, the simple joys and love of grandchildren.