15 08 2007

Eliana loves when her cousins come to visit.  They are really my second cousins (my cousin’s kids), but that’s ok, we’re all family. Since all of them are a good 5 – 7 years older than she is, she looks up to them a lot. She follows them around, starts to repeat everything they say, and generally attaches herself to then for the duration of their visit. And, when they’re gone, Eliana talks about them for days. I’m guessing this is a natural response to the excitement of growing up with other family members, and meeting other kids from which you can relate to a little easier than your parents (who are way old).

And even though I love when my family comes to visit, these particular cousins come to visit us not with their parents, but with their grandparents. And it’s not like their grandparents snagged them from their parents for a weekend. These kids are mostly growing up with their grandparents. Being an honest, hardworking parent who cares about his kids, I still find this situation hard to fathom. And the fact that its within my own family just makes me want to reach out and help them even more.  It is painfully obvious that these kids need parents who are my age to play with them. They need parents to give them attention and love. Even on my bad days, I give all I can to my kids, and it’s more than likely 100 times more than these kids get from their own parents. To their parents, these kids are pawns in an elaborate game of deception and oneupmanship. The grandparents are there to help the kids have a solid backing of discipline and love. But, they are grandparents. Their job was done at least 20 years ago. They should be able to enjoy the presence of their grandkids. Now, these kids aren’t bad. In fact, I think they are intelligent and well mannered. But their undying need for attention from their real parents is obvious.

I sometimes question some of the decisions I make when I do certain things for my kids. Am I doing the right thing for Eliana by telling her to eat a little less? How far should I let her tantrum go before I open a can of whoop-ass? Why can’t she let me work on my career for a little bit tonite and just leave me alone? All of the answers to these questions have far less significant impact than if I asked “what if I wasn’t there for the next 10-20 years?”.  No matter what I do right or wrong, the mere fact that I’m here for them and the fact that they can count on me and trust me for any and everything is what shapes their lives for the better. This is what it means to be a father, and I just don’t understand how people can be so selfish all the time. It’s your own flesh and blood that needs you!

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