In terms of raw numbers I am a grandfather of eight.
In terms of raw numbers I am a grandfather of eight. However, when it comes to actually getting to be a grandfather the field of grandkids shrinks to four.
Because the oldest of that foursome is just 4 years old I am still a relative newbie at being a grandpa. Still, I have learned some important lessons regarding when it is appropriate to celebrate the accomplishments of my grandchildren:
• Obviously it is fitting to celebrate the arrival of a new grandchild as I did a little over a month ago when grandson Jackson came into the world. Not only have I applauded the birth of each new grandchild, but I've also made a practice of offering up a prayer of thanks that the child, mother, and even father, successfully made it through the delivery process.
• Another point worth celebrating with mom and dad is when the little newcomer begins to get his or her days and nights figured out. It is amazing how good a weary mom and dad will feel after that first stretch of four hours or more of sleep following a baby's arrival.
• An assortment of benchmarks, such as the baby holding its head up, smiling or sitting up on its own, are frequently announced by proud parents who hope you will share their happiness.
• First-time parents will cheer the day their young prodigy gains mobility, whether it is through rolling, scooting, crawling or walking. As a grandparent you offer congratulations, while secretly knowing you need to be offering condolences because mom and dad's lives will never be the same because they can no longer put their child down in one spot and have it still be there 45 seconds later.
• Vocalizing is another groundbreaking advancement. As a grandparent you are prepared to cheer regardless of whether those first words are "Mama" or "Dada." Still, you know full well that if the child had wanted to wield power its first words would have been "grandma" or "grandpa." As it is the child will quickly come to understand that any string of gibberish followed by "Papa" will be translated in grandpa's brain as "May I please have more ice cream, Papa?”
• A true red letter day is when Little Miss or Mister manages to put a few drops of pee or, maybe better yet, some poop in a pot. While I am certain few, if any, high school graduates were wearing a diaper when they received their diploma, moms and dads frequently stress over when their offspring will learn to control their bowels and bladder.
On Father's Day I received a call from my daughter, Amber, who was on the floor next to her 3-year-old son, Aiden, as he sat on a "throne" waiting for "business" to occur. Amber reported she was prepared for the long haul, bring books to read to her young son, snacks to nibble on and water to drink.
While I readily admit that my wife, Nancy, did the heavy lifting when it came to potty training our five, I can still remember taking my turn at encouraging our offspring to go in the pot because of how good it feels to be "dry and clean."
This past weekend Nancy and I went to see Amber and her family, but instead of meeting them at their home we were asked to catch up with them at a local pizza place. The outing was reportedly a reward for Aiden having tamed the "bowel beast," which as every parent and grandparent knows is something worthy of celebrating.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.