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Entry date: 5-9-2022 - Happy Birthday, Sky - Letters to My Granddaughter

Dear Friends,

Eight years ago today, I became a grandfather. At first, I was highly entertained at the idea of being a grandpa at 44 years old. I enjoyed telling people I was a grandparent, and still do, but it was especially fun when I thought I still looked fairly young. Ah vanity … sometimes it is fun.

I was really excited to be a grandfather, too, because I had excellent grandfathers growing up. Tom and Jack were both people I could look to as role models and I loved them dearly. I was much closer to Tom, my mom’s dad, who was my guy, but I had tremendous love for Jack, and relished the time I got to spend with him. They will both continue to be a part of this blog, I am sure, as I could go on and on about them.

When I found out about Skylar, I thought of each of them a lot and the example they set. I wanted to be that kind of grandparent. I wanted to be there for this new member of the family and be someone she could count on. I wanted for her, whoever she was going to be, to know that I loved her and that she was always going to be welcome at any time to be at our house and know she was home. This is how my grandfathers always made me feel and I thank them for that.

Skylar Mae was born at the hospital right down the street from our house. Rhondi was in the room with Elise and texted me saying it was time and I half-walked, half-jogged over so I could be there when she got here. I think maybe a nurse thought I was the father and said, “You better get in there,” so I pushed open the door and Sky was definitely on her way out. I quickly did an about face and waited until I heard her cry.

For me, seeing her little face and fingers and toes was not much different than when I got to see Liam and Teresa in those first moments. It was just pure, instant love. She was perfect, in my eyes, and I remember thinking of all the things we were going to do together.

For the first several months of her life, Skylar, Elise, and Joe lived with us. I loved coming home from work and getting time with her. Liam and Teresa were still pretty little, so it was not terribly strange to have a baby in the house once again. She would sleep on my chest while I watched a game or sit on my lap and do that whole baby thing of trying to check everything out while squeezing my thumbs.

We bonded.

I am now called “Papa.” Skylar and I enjoy the heck out of each other’s company if I say so myself. At different times, during her now nine years of life, we have gotten to spend an awful lot of time together and I cherish it. She has quite the little sense of humor and has since she was very small.

When she was around two, I think, I would often pick her up from daycare on my way home from work. She would be in her car seat in the seat right behind me and we would just talk and talk on the way home. At some point, she started saying, “Oh my God” all the time. It sounded so cute, but for a reason I can’t quite pinpoint right now, I felt like she should not be saying it and started responding with “Oh my gosh” each time she said it.

One day, I thought I would be clever and record this back and forth and we went round and round as I drove down Bethany Home Road.

“Oh my God.”

“Oh my gosh.”

“Oh my God.”

“Oh my gosh.”

“Oh my God.”

“Oh my gosh.”

“Oh my God.”

“Oh my gosh.”

This went on from 35th Avenue to I-17. Finally, she started saying, “Oh my gosh” and giggling her head off. I was laughing, too, and we kept this up until she let out something different.

“Oh, my fuck!”

I have a recording of this somewhere in an email. I laughed so hard I almost did not see the light change to go across the freeway and get closer to home. I could not wait to tell Rhondi about it and play the recording. We laughed about this one for a while.

I grew to love those car rides and still do when I get a chance to pick her up from daycare or take her some place. We have the best conversations. Sometimes we play I Spy, although not as much as we used to. Skylar likes to make up the rules of the games we play sometimes, too, and that is always fun. She is very creative when it comes to her rules, but always let’s me win a few rounds here and there of whatever we are playing.

During the holidays the last few years, we have done quite a bit of singing, too. She likes my renditions of Rudolph and Frosty and I love singing them for her. Being a budding music fan, she will ask to her here song when we are in the car, and I have to dig out a CD Bobby made for Liam and Teresa called “Kiddie Krack.” It starts with the Toy Dolls’ “Nellie The Elephant.” Skylar loves “Nellie.”

She is quite the excellent reader, too, so I have heard many a story on our rides together. I always keep a couple of her books in the car in case I get to pick her up. We go on the occasional outing to Bookman’s, and she picks out some new books. It has been really fascinating this year to quiz her about what she is learning in school since she is in the same grade that I teach.

I am thinking of you today, Sky-bean. My “Boogie.” I love you dearly and cannot wait to celebrate with you this weekend. Eight years of sharing the world with you has been my privilege. Papa loves you with all my heart.

See you tomorrow.

We took Skylar to the cool exhibit John and Amy did at Modified a few years ago.

Here's a link to "Nellie The Elephant":

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