Grandparents: Right to Spoil

My 86 year old active Grandfather has just suffered a transient stroke and is recovering in hospital. This is the man who hoisted my brother and me up on his shoulders and carried us to school every morning. When I tell Number One that story he asks ‘Why Mama? Were there no cars when you were younger?’ Sad tragedy of today’s young ‘uns. No son, its not that there weren’t any cars, its just that Dada loved spending time with us and looking after us and this was one of our little ‘together-time’ routines!

Dada comes from that generation. He will still make a trip up across the road and up two floors to see his great grandchildren to give them one chocolate everyday. Everyday I fight with him that it will spoil their lunch, spoil their dinner…grumble grumble grumble… What I forget is this is the man who bought me my first barbie house (at a time when they were rare), who would walk all across HongKong where he lived to find me one particular cream I wanted (Man of My Dreams would never do this), who sent me across Eurpoe for my 21st birthday, and he is not one to take no for an answer. He didn’t feel that Parents had the authority to surpass his rights when it came to his grandchildren and will definitely not take no for an answer when it comes to his great-grandchildren.

I felt oddly vulnerable seeing this war veteren, ADC to Lord Mountbatten, stalwart in the business world, rock to his family and friends, hidden behind the pillows on his hospital bed while I suddenly had to play the grown up and take care of him. Well that lasted about five minutes. I was on ‘Dada Watch’ yesterday afternoon when his tea came and I started putting it together for him. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked me genuinely perplexed. ‘I’m making your tea Dada!’ I replied. ‘Well what are you doing that for? I can make it myself! You’re not supposed to be doing that!’ He said. ‘What am I supposed to be doing then?’ I replied with the teabag hanging over the cup, wondering where this conversation was leading. ‘You’re supposed to be relaxing. Grandchildren are supposed to eat chocolates and be spoilt!’

For a minute I wondered if he had mistaken me for my 3 year old daughter but then I re-adjusted my view. This is MY Grandfather. It doesn’t make a difference to him that I am a 32 year old mother of two who has been married 10 years and running a business. He still sees me as that same little girl with two pigtails who he used to hoist on his shoulders and carry off to school. Well! Who am I to take that away from him then?!! And why in the world would I deprive myself of that as well when at 32 in this crazy, stressful world, I still have someone looking out for me! Get Well Soon Dada – I await my chocolates…

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