Ways grandchildren change you

Published 8:08 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grandchildren will sometimes make you do some strange things.

I will be the first to admit that my one and my two-year old granddaughters have me wrapped around their little fingers. Both of them simply have to look in my direction and I am ready and excited to do whatever they ask.

On a trip to Birmingham recently my youngest had me going up and down escalators six revolutions in a row. Normally I would have been concerned about what onlookers would think about a grown man playing on an escalator. But with her hand wrapped around my finger, I found myself thinking only about her smiles and the fun she was having. What others thought of what appeared to them to be silliness didn’t matter to me.

Last week I spent two and a half hours putting together a car for my two-year-old’s Christmas present. The instructions were printed in four languages and I had to use all four of them to complete the task.

The vehicle goes five miles per hour, includes a working gear shift and a FM radio. The task of assembling the car seemed much easier when I thought about seeing her smile Christmas morning when she finds the car under the Christmas tree.

The limits I will go for both grandchildren even surprise me. This week, for example, I crawled under my house to retrieve a plastic Santa that had been stored there and not used for decades.

My wife, Peggy, has asked many times about the four-and-a-half-foot tall Santa that came complete with a light inside that makes him glow in red and white. I always avoided the unpleasant crawl under my house by saying “It probable doesn’t work any longer and you can be assured it is covered from boot to red cap with dust.”

Using a different tactic this year, Peggy said she believed the grandkids would enjoy seeing the antique Santa.

That’s all it took. I spent a couple of hours Thanksgiving morning crawling over duct work to retrieve and clean up St. Nick.

He doesn’t play music, move his head or his arms and doesn’t even say “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

But if he brings a smile to both grandchildren, the effort on my part will be worthwhile.

– Mike Kelley is the publisher of The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at mike.kelley@clantonadvertiser.com.