My granddaughter’s school had a great tradition. The eighth grade graduates would take an airplane trip to Washington D. C. My granddaughter was unlucky enough to graduate the eighth grade in 2001. Parents that year were nervous about airplanes and trips to Washington. D. C. Her class got a bus trip to Colonial Williamsburg. As you might imagine, chaperones for the trip were hard to find. I volunteered. It took us two days on the bus to get there and two days back. It was likely because of that trip that I got the reputation as “go to grandpa.”
I have memories of running into a Wal-Mart from the bus to pick up movies so the kids would have something fresh to watch. I remember the rain poured down the entire day we were at Williamsburg and the kids had to dodge the rain running from exhibit to exhibit. I don’t have a lot of memories of my grand-daughter from that trip. I think I was wise enough to know to give her space. What eighth grader wants her grandpa around?
Ever since then I’m the one the grandkids call when they miss the bus, have a midweek doctors’ appointment, or need a babysitter. Having an at home law practice made being the “go to grandpa” possible. You should be aware that I was not a go to dad. I was in the Navy for eleven years when my kids were young. That included two tours in Vietnam, then law school, a year internship and struggles to get a law practice going. I’ve been a better grandpa than I was a dad.
There are times when I wish I had devoted more energy to billable hours, building a larger client base and saving up for retirement. At those times I review memories of bus trips, rescuing grandkids from missed buses, and holding hands at doctor appointments and remember I wouldn’t trade being a go to grandpa for anything, except maybe having been a go to dad.