education

Dad is Life and Life is Dad…

Our kid has gone through a medical struggle (back) and heartbreak due to the outcome. The kid we raised is smart, stubborn, athletic, artistic, and brave. It has been a haul but that is life and we are a tough family. His recent two year battle came with a miracle that has come full circle and resulted in a new career of sorts, one with no pay, gratitude and frankly the best type of life, full-time dad. DJL now a two year old mini-KWL. He is a single dad and does it all. He is super-dad and his mini-him is attached at the hip and the big guy is just as attached. It is something to see and it is especially poignant from the eyes of a grandparent.

In the midst of raising littles you often miss their favorite show and their intense understanding of character and plot. The mimicked behaviors that are character requested during the developmental shows for little people learning, and the delight in their eyes when they hit perfection of the character moves. Now, I see it all and always tell my son, to slow down and watch it all. It goes fast. So fast. I see his side also, I have done all of it, as my hubs was and is a workaholic who has slowed a bit to cherish the grandfather role, and for that I am grateful.

Long ago, KWL was my mini-me and I see the same in their relationship that we had long ago. Insert Hugs. My former mini-me, at two went to grad school with me, literally walked ASU and went to classes, held the door for the students, and ate Cheerios, colored and practiced sounds and letters. At two and a half we had all letters and numbers through ten mastered, an obvious result of ASU. Insert Laugh. I knew he needed pre-school but neither of us were ready and besides after class there was a happy meal at the Memorial Union. By day I took notes, by night I studied. In between I clipped fingernails, wiped faces, cut up food, played, and prayed my picky eater would eat. Our relationship was tight. In fact, so strong that pre-school was a tough separation for us but we both survived and both flourished. He with his Montessori buddies and me with student teaching and a diploma. The night I walked Gammage for my masters he literally waited in the wings of to see me get what we both earned. As I walked off the stage, I got a hug, and I am sure we all had a McDonald’s dinner. I am sure of that. That is our past, but those times along with many more days like it created the adult he is today.

As parents, we constantly question ourselves, I no longer question. Nope. I am good. I did my best and now I cherish the moments of watching their practical daily life. I find odd joy in the nail clipping, face wiping, consistent feeding (no prayers needed), playing, reading, counting, and constant exploration with high doses of love. I get odd joy in seeing that my former mini-me picked up some skills along the way and is tirelessly using them on his best little person. Now, I sit back and enjoy all the moments, the ones I lived and the ones I missed. As a grandparent I am especially good at the Blues Clues movements and Tea Time, even when it is poured from our tummy as we are into the letter T right now, pretend play, counting, Little Tykes basketball and hugs. I like my hugs the best and look forward to watching my mini-child grow into his own adult and if blessed watch him with his child as they navigate the waters between the constant work and joy our children bring.

I love you KWL.

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