We feel very fortunate to live close to both sets of our parents. Our homes are just a few miles away from each of them. This has provided us with help more times than I can count. I am so thankful that they are here for us and that they continue to be our helping hands, because let’s face it, raising three kids isn’t easy. And finding just anyone to babysit a special needs child is not an option. But even more so than just all the help that we get from living close by our parents, I am happiest that it has allowed our children to establish great relationships with their grandparents.
Our parents are a big part of our kids’ lives; they go to their ball games, come watch their school programs, stop by for visits, invite them over to play or have Sunday breakfast. They look forward to seeing our kids, and our kids look forward to spending time with them too. But over the past few years, I have seen something beyond even that come about. A truly extra special bond has been formed between my oldest son, Damion, and my dad in particular. In honor of the upcoming Father’s Day, I wanted to take the time to talk about this friendship that has formed between my son and my dad, or as my kids call him, “Pa.”
Anybody who has been around Damion for even a short amount of time knows how much he loves his Pa. His aid at school has talked about how much his face lights up if he finds out Pa is picking him up, or that he is going to Pa’s house that evening. Right now, it is rare to go for more than an hour without him being mentioned at least once by Damion. It’s currently summer time, so I make daily picture schedules for Damion. Hands down, the most requested item I get from him to add to his schedule is “see Pa.”
They have been buddies for years now, but their friendship has really taken off since my dad went into a semi-retirement. He is generally my go-to call if I need someone to help with the kids, especially in a pinch. Damion doesn’t do well at sitting for any type of practice or game the other children are involved in, so generally this requires that I seek someone to watch him for even the basic things that most kids his age generally would not need a sitter for. This task generally falls on the Pa as well. And then there are just rough days for Damion, for one reason or another, and sometimes on those days, Pa comes to our rescue and helps make the day better with a visit, a trip to Pa’s house, or maybe even taking him to town for some “purple drink,” aka slushies at DQ.
I know this has to be a lot on my dad at times. Even in retirement, he still has things he needs or wants to do. I feel myself stressing and apologizing a lot during the times when my calls for help or just Damion’s “want” to see him has made it to extra high levels. But usually he just says, “No problem, I like hanging out with my buddy.”
I love that we live close to our families. I love that our families are involved in our lives. The thought of moving far away for better weather or different opportunities has never even been a real consideration, because what we have here is so much more. Relationships with grandparents are not something that every child gets, but I think it really shows in the ones that do. Making real, close friends may never come easy to Damion, but thankfully, he already has a best friend, his grandpa. These BFFs have been having fun together for years, and hopefully it will carry on like this for many more years to come. Just two peas in a pod hanging out, sipping coca cola, riding around Pa’s convertible, having the time of their lives. There is just nothing quite like the bond between this boy and his “Pa.”