Friday, August 15, 2008

The Poppas

I think that Hayden is an incredibly lucky little boy. Not only does he have two loving, emotionally stable parents, he also has four grandparents and four great-grandparents. Everyone lives within an hour's drive from us (save for one set of great grandparents in BC) and they are all involved in his life. Everyone is still married and in relatively good health. That seems like a prize-worthy thing in these times.

My parents and Adam's folks both adore Hayden and take every opportunity they can to see him. (I sometimes think of my mum as a panther, crouched and silently waiting to pounce on an opportunity to visit.) They smother him in love and are much more lenient then they were when Adam and I were growing up - these are a grandparent's unspoken spoiling right according to my father-in-law.

In response to this love, Hayden refers to all four grandparents as the poppas. There is no differentiating between genders, families or the fact that they have all chosen different grandparent names (Gran and Poppa for my folks and Gram and Grampa for Adam's). He can say these words, but when he sees any of them or makes reference to them, they are Poppa. I think it's hilarious and quite telling that he considers them all with the same attachment by using this standard moniker.

I'm so pleased that Hayden will grow up feeling the love of family around him. I have to admit that when I was a young girl, I envied the relationship my peers had with their grandparents. Baking cookies, learning how to knit and sew, figuring out how to thread a wiggly worm on to a hook, these were the things you learned from your grandparents. My maternal grandparents lived in England and I met them only a handful of times in my life (my paternal grandparents passed away before I was born). My grandfather passed away when I was a teen and I never felt that I knew him. When I turned 21, my mum took me to England to celebrate. I was able to meet my Gran and connect with her as an adult. It was a bittersweet time as I realized that the two of us would have been fast friends but never had the chance. We laughed so much together and the three of us (my mum, my Gran and I) seemed to be cut from the same cloth. When she passed away a few years ago, I mourned her loss not just for the person she was, but also for who she represented: my only living grandparent and the only one I ever had a real relationship with.

Part of the reason we moved from Ottawa after Hayden was born addressed this loss. By picking up roots and replanting them closer to our families, Hayden would have a whole other generation to draw experience, knowledge and love from. He would know his grandparents - all of them. And they would know him and be able to play an active role in his life. This move was the gift of family. I can only hope that one day Hayden looks back on his life and realizes what a precious gift that is.

1 comment:

The W.O.W. factor said...

I'm so envious of you! To have your family so close! And for the grandparents to share in Haydens everyday life...I don't get that opportunity with my 2 grandkids. I wish it were different (*sad sigh*)