Saturday, November 24, 2012

Things Gumpy would want me to know as a dad

My mom enjoyed this Thanksgiving dinner with my burgeoning little family.  It was our first official holiday with The Kid, and Gladys and I were happy Grandma Roz could join us.

Inevitably, Mom and I talked about how Gumpy would react to me becoming a father.  He was pretty funny about me aging in the first place, often remarking that he felt older on my birthday than he did on Mom's birthday.  Mom is steadfast in her belief that he would be thrilled for me, and I happen to agree.

She did amuse me, however, when she stated Gumpy was great with babies.

He is the same man that went upstairs to tuck in a newborn baby Roz, only to mistake the baby with a full head of hair for the teddy bear that was in the crib with her.  When Ema went upstairs to check on the baby, she found Baby Roz uncovered and the teddy bear tightly tucked in for the evening.  Mistaking the baby for a teddy bear was a topic of debate between my grandparents for the rest of his life.

I really don't remember anything remarkable about him and my Aunt Mary's sons when they were little either, other than I always changed diapers for him when I was around.

Still, I think he would be thrilled and he would be looking for excuses to come home to visit The Kid this winter.  Everything he did was for his family and that is where my lessons would begin.  I think he would sum his thoughts in this way:
  • That child is the most important person in your life.  
  • Do everything you can to make sure she gets a good education.
  • Do everything you can to provide for your family financially and emotionally.
  • Teach her how to laugh.
  • Don't take yourself to seriously.
  • Make sure she understands our family history and knows her extended family.
  • Don't allow her to suffer from OCD (only child disease).
  • Do what you can to protect her.
  • Don't let her become a Republican.
  • Do show her you love her.
I've been pretty calm as we progress through our adoption of The Kid, which seems counter to the way I usually operate.  I thank Gumpy for a large part of my calmness because even thought I can hear his voice tell me I will be fine, I saw him approach his daughters this way.

In case you're reading this from heaven Old Boy, I promise to not only do as you said but do as you did when raising my own daughter.