I’m gonna switch gears today and touch on a subject that is dear to my heart. I know all y’all expect me to write about serious, sometimes mind-boggling topics, but due to a recent event in a local hospital a few days ago, I thought I’d share some astute insight and offer some astounding advice to a fella who suddenly entered a new phase in his life. Although today’s column is aimed at a specific target, other men in the same subgroup might catch some of my buckshot. So, to all you old geezers who recently became a grandfather, let me start off by saying congratulations. But grab a rocking chair because I’m about to tell you how your life as you once knew it will change forever.
If any of y’all wonder if I’m qualified to give advice to new grandfathers, I’ll have you know that I have proudly held that title for eight years. I have three young whipper-snappers running around calling me Poppa, so I think I may know a thing or two. I’m not saying I’m the best grandfather, or GOAT as some folks say, but I hope I’d be on the Top Ten List. With eight years of experience under my well-worn belt, I feel a responsibility to toss some of my horse-sens
First of all, remember how you kinda lost steam after chugging up that mountain for all those years, and when you finally got over the hill, you were all worn out? You entered your golden years with a bad back, shot knees and a heart that works as well as that rusty old bicycle pump stashed in your garage somewhere. Well, here’s the good news. Like the Grinch, your heart will grow three sizes the day you first hold that grandbaby in your arms.
Your aches and pains seem to vanish every time you see your grandchild. You find yourself on your knees building a train track with your grandson, or chasing your granddaughter around the yard on legs that haven’t run since that funny-tasting chilidog at the state fair a few years ago. I don’t exactly know how the body does it, but becoming a grandfather can actually turn back time.
Okay, I think I should tell you about the downside of being a grandpa. Oh, it’s not bad stuff (that diaper-changing chore is often handled by grandmothers), but there will be activities you probably hadn’t planned on ever doing. Like going to soccer games to watch a bunch of 5-year-olds running around like red ants on a scorpion. Or watching Spongebob Squarepants instead of SportsCenter during sleepovers.
You probably haven’t been told this yet, but grandfathers should get vaccinated for whooping cough and some other childhood bugs. I’m no fan of needles, but a couple of shots are less painful than seeing a sick grandbaby. And speaking of illness, get ready because you’ll catch something from that grandchild who likes to chew on her fingers and then stick one up your nose.
Here are some other things to be prepared for: Building a tree house in your backyard just because your grandkids asked you to. Getting into a swimming pool with the kids although the water temperature is cold enough to send your gonads up past your spleen. Building sandcastles instead of snoozing under your beach umbrella. Spending so much money on Christmas presents that you can only afford cheap beer until March.
And there are also some responsibilities of being a grandpa. You have to tell them stories about the good ol’ days when you were their age. You have to get Netflix and introduce them to Popeye and the Rifleman. You need to teach them how to drive your old truck as soon as they’re big enough to see over the dashboard while sitting in your lap. Teach them how to tell the difference between a mommy cow and a daddy cow, but when they ask why the bull is jumping on the mommy cow, just point to the woods and say, “Look! Some deer.”
Fellas, there is so much to learn to be a good grandfather, and I don’t have all the answers to your numerous questions. What I can tell you is that having grandkids is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive. Well worth that tortuous wait in the hospital lobby throughout the night, wondering when the little poot-blossom will arrive. And for some of you new grandfathers who are at the end of your careers, you may soon retire but your new job waits for you bundled up in that cradle. Enjoy!
Clint Younts column photo happens to be a photo of him holding his first grandson Aidan Richey. Clint has been known to take his three grandchildren on tractor rides through the pasture and teaching hte young’uns to throw out molasses cubes to the cattle.