Kathy and I just joined an elite group. The group is called "grandparents." The reason why it is an elite group is because grandparents can do no wrong. Just ask their grandchildren. Grandparents sit at the head table with God Almighty.
Yup, we're grandparents. I'm sure our lives will never be the same. To celebrate the special occasion, I wore blue jeans for the first time in probably 50 years. See, my life has changed already.
I tried to persuade my daughter and son in law to name their newborn "Peggy Sue" after the No. 1 hit made popular by Buddy Holly many, many years ago.
"Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue
"Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, Peggy Sue
"Oh, Peggy, my Peggy Sue"
It's a great song for kids to learn the "P" sound when they want to say, "Please, Mommy, can I have another piece of pie." But, alas, Bemidji's newest citizen is Alicia Marie Larson.
So, Kathy and I are grandparents. My son is now an uncle. My brother and his wife have become a great uncle and aunt. My father is a great grandfather. The kids of my cousins will have a new third cousin. My aunts and uncles now have a great, great niece. It's all very confusing but the point is Kathy and I are finally grandparents. The first text message I sent to my daughter read, "It's a wonderful life" and now it will even be more wonderful.
Grandparents are truly a unique gift. After the Creator created them he said, "This is super good!" Yes, and He even used an explanation point.
There really isn't anything that can harm grandparents. They are indestructible because they already survived so much. If you are a grandparent, think about what you endured or witnessed.
You made it through the pestilence and the plague of childhood where you had chicken pox, measles, mumps and scarlet fever. Do you still have your appendix and tonsils? You have numerous scars on your body due to cuts and breaks and bruises. You have known of good times when you had your own children and you have known of not so good times when you lost a loved one. You know the meaning of joy and sadness. You encountered people who you didn't get along with and you made some fantastic relationships with people who you now cherish.
If you were born in the '40s or '50s or earlier, you have been through Pearl Harbor, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Cold War, 9/11, and the ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and even The Beatles invasion. You have seen countless technological innovations that are mind-boggling but you still remember what it was like to not have a phone in your pocket or purse. You have been critical of some very bad presidents and you have praised some very good presidents.
You have lived paycheck to paycheck and you know what it is like not to have a paycheck. You have had many cars and maybe a few boats and ATVs. You learned how to fry fish, make a great hot dish and make freezer jam. You have had good gardens and not so good gardens where the cutworms ate your tomatoes. You have witnessed countless changes in the seasons, been to many states and even traveled to parts unknown.
Through all of these experiences you have learned many lessons and it's these lessons you pass on to your grandchildren. It's these lessons learned from grandparents that are the reasons why grandparents can do no wrong in the eyes of their grandchildren.
There are a few lessons I hope my grandchild learns from me. I hope she will learn the value of learning. I hope she will learn to appreciate people who are from a different culture and may look and do things a little bit differently. I hope she will learn to know what her own special gifts are and to use these gifts to not only enhance her own well being but also to help others. I hope she will appreciate books, birds and a truly good burger.
I hope she will travel to places unknown and never feel that life is boring but realize that life is what she makes of it. I hope she will have faith in the Creator and realize that when everything is said and done, it is that abiding faith that will get her through the day and enable her to do whatever she wants to do. I hope she will lead a good life.
All of these lessons and more I learned from my grandparents and they were reinforced by my parents. Being a grandparent is an awesome responsibility. Kathy and I hope we can live up to the task.
For all of you who are grandparents, thanks for doing what you do in caring for your grandkids. Remember, you're invincible. You are the reason why it is a wonderful life. By the way, thanks to Jimmy Carter for creating Grandparents Day on the first Sunday after Labor Day. I can hardly wait.
Riddle: What lies at the bottom of the ocean and shakes? A nervous wreck. As parents I am thinking about what Shawn and Caroline have in store for them. Can you be a parent without being nervous wrecks some of the time? It's not true for grandparents. We can always return grandkids.
John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.