Being a granddad is something that I never really imagined, especially as I met my paternal grandparents just twice in my life. I never met my maternal grandparents. I understood that grandparents existed but had no real experience of being a grandchild nor what grandparents do.
Grandparents can give children what parents in spite of their best wishes often cannot give: time and undivided attention.
Becoming a parent usually also coincides with the busiest time of our lives, when we are building our lives. Everything is accelerated with hardly time to think and reflect. Sleep is often a luxury.
When Amaya our first grandchild was born it simply felt surreal. I knew that I had become a granddad but I still didn’t feel like one.
Being a granddad is a role that one grows into, a role in which I now feel very comfortable. I have been helped a lot by my youngest grandchildren.
The most captivating characteristic of very young children is that they exist entirely in the moment. If you want to experience the boundless joy of connecting to, and being with a small child, you have no option except to be completely in the present moment. Being with a small child is an experience in humility, patience and so much empathic joy.
That wordless heart connection of a baby, the eyes, both innocent and wise all at the same time, the spontaneous responses, smiles, giggles, tugging my beard, the safeness and warmth he finds in my arms that comforts me as much at it comforts him.
A few years older and I am an oversized playmate, as I am drawn into her games, face-paint, monsters, teasing, spontaneous hugs and the magic moments when her innocent yet powerful logic is suddenly visible. How she make sense of the world, how she perceives herself and others − moments of both joy and wonder.
All in all being with small children is a type of meditation.
If you have the opportunity as a grandparent, an uncle or an aunt of being with a small child, take full advantage. Play with open curiosity, a sense of kindness/love and always a sense of humour. Do not assume that you always know better. Allow yourself to be drawn fully into the child’s world.
Let the child in front of you connect with the child within you. Treat the child which resides within you with the same open curiosity, kindness and a sense of humour.
Children are great teachers, inviting us to connect once again with the present moment with joy, kindness, a sense of marvel and an experience of unconditional love.