Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 3, 2012

ROOT: Turn, Turn, Turn

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Being middle-aged is that point in your life when you have a lot more memories to look back on than a future to look forward to. It’s okay to think that way, because that is just reality. It is funny how the phrase “I’ll tell you when you are older” is completely frustrating at age 17, but turns into sage wisdom at the age of 45.

When you are a young teenager, you rightfully feel like you have your whole life ahead of you. You also wonder what kinds of dreams and aspirations your parents and grandparents may have. When you become a parent, you understand the dreams and aspirations of parents, but you are still a little fuzzy on whether or not grandparents have dreams and aspirations.

As the out-of-control off-road vehicle that is my life careens off the beaten path and crashes into middle age, I get ready to find out just what kind of dreams and aspirations grandparents have. It won’t be long before I become that very thing that I looked up to my whole life. It won’t be long before my wife and I are grandparents.

I don’t think this is news. I believe I broke this one open a couple of months ago. But what is news to me is that I am preparing for some other major changes in my life to coincide with the arrival of my son’s first born.

Let me tell you from experience that grandparents do indeed have dreams and aspirations. In some cases, the arrival of that first grandchild marks a point where it feels like it is time to get serious about things. The dreams and aspirations I have now feel like they have a much stronger purpose than they have ever had before.

Anyone who is a grandparent knows what I am talking about. Everyone takes raising their kids seriously, but it is such hard work that the years usually go whizzing by. When you become a grandparent, it suddenly hits you that time is precious and you need to make the most of it. I think it is that lethal combination of your own mortality mixed with the strong desire to leave a legacy your kids and grandkids can be proud of, and I am pretty sure everyone goes through it to some extent.

I am an egomaniac by trade, and that is a very busy full-time job. When it comes to your kids, you put the ego aside and you do what you need to do to make sure that they become healthy and well-adjusted adults. But when you are on the verge of becoming a grandparent, something clicks in you that reverts you back to those days when you didn’t have a care in the world.

You become that element that shows your grandchildren what it means to get the most out of life. You have to be that element because your kids will be too busy chasing the little monsters around.

The point at which you become a grandparent is when you finally get to see if you were a good parent or not. Raising kids is hard and you don’t have a lot of time to think about things, you only have time to react. It is how you react to the things your kids do which determines what kind of person you are. When you watch your kids react to their kids, then you finally get to see whether or not you created a well-adjusted adult.

These musings are just the things I have been thinking about lately as the blessed day gets closer. As I have mentioned before, going through the stages of life helps you to appreciate the sacrifices your parents made when you were younger. You never really know how truly wonderful your parents are until you become a parent yourself. I realized that a long time ago, and I have already apologized to my mom profusely.

Now my wife and I get to transition from the serious parents to the fun grandparents. What sucks for my son is that he will always get the serious parent routine from us. We care way too much about our boy and his wife to stop being his parents. But we will probably spoil the hell out of the little one.

As one phase of your life fades away, another one begins. I look at my son, who can pretty much look me in the eye now, and I still see that little kid. I probably always will see that little kid. I can’t help it. He will always be that little kid to me. Now my wife and I get another chance to mold a little kid that will probably look a lot like our little kid. But this time we are only helping, and that may be the hardest part about it.

Turn, turn, turn . . .

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and on the verge of being a proud grandparent. But since he is one of those hip grandparents, he can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net. His column appears every Wednesday, and is probably the most accurate account of his life to date…lucky you.