The Inner Dad also has a secret life as The Inner Grandpa.
I've always enjoyed my family dynamics. Seems I never do anything the easy (or, at least, traditional) way, and putting my family together has been no exception.
I served for awhile as a Sunday School teacher, working with the 16 through 18 year olds. I actually enjoyed that calling, because they were old enough to get most of my humor. Kids need to get my humor if they're going to learn anything from me, and I don't always remember to make it age appropriate. Just a week ago I substituted in Woodyette Number One's Primary class and had the kids rolling on the floor, but that may have been because their little heads were about to implode.
In that Sunday School class, I one day introduced the concept of family. I started off by saying something like, "I have three children (Woodyette Number Two was still in the oven at this point). My first child is younger than my oldest child and my youngest child was my first experience with pregnancy."
[Wait a beat or two...]
"Before I married Mrs. Woody I was an adoptive parent."
[Lights go on.]
"Ooooh! You were married before and adopted your kids!"
But you should have seen their faces before I explained myself.
Anyway, the truth is that I have two other children from my first (or "starter," as Mrs. Woody puts it) marriage. My son is 17-going-on-making-his-father-89 years old. He lives with his Mom and has a step-Dad, who, as far as I'm concerned, came from Smallville. As parents I salute them for being able to deal with this hormone-explosion who carries my name and causes most of my gray hairs. He's a good kid, but this is a tough age.
My oldest child came to us as a teenage foster child. We knew instantly that she was a perfect fit with our family, but had to wait until she turned 18 to do an adult adoption. She married a terrific young man in the Air Force, and they are currently stationed in Washington, D.C. They have a daughter who is every bit as adorable as her mother was (um, is!) and who also happens to be a year older than my older Woodyette. Confusing, I know, but at least it gives me something to talk about at church socials.
My granddaughter just turned 9. Her Mommy called me the other day to tell me that she is doing her very first science project. Grandpa couldn't be more tickled. There's a kind of poetic justice in watching your child go through the same hoops she put you through whenever a project or report was needed at school. It just feels... good.
The topic, in this case, is the solar system, and my granddaughter is doing a poster on Saturn. Good choice. I've been happy with mine ever since we drove it off the lot. [Rim shot.] She struggles a little with memory, and this has been a great way to motivate her to remember details. "How many moons?" Mommy asks. "About 30!" she enthuses. Grandpas love to hear that sort of stuff.
So, my daughter knows that Grandpa wants photos of the poster and a complete debriefing after the fair. She has a digital camera now, so no excuses! Grandma Woody (heh!) will likely put them in a scrapbook sometime soon.
I don't get to see them too often nowadays, but I can still participate.