I've been a grandfather for almost five years.
People say I'm too young to be a grandfather. I don't know what this means.
I guess you have to reach a certain age and have white hair and be retired before people will accept you're "grand."
In that case, I suppose I'm not a GRANDfather. I'll have to settle for just being a PRETTYGOODfather for a couple more years.
Whatever you want t call me, our oldest daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Tim Nordland, have children. And I think the role I get to play in all this is pretty grand.
Our first grandchild was Jake. Next came Matt.
And on Sunday, July 19, our third grandchild was born, Kirsten Elizabeth Nordland.
It was a surprise. She was four weeks early.
When we got the call Saturday night, I took my wife to the hospital where she became in involved in all of this.
And I did my job as a granddad - which is to say I did absolutely nothing. I sat in the waiting room lounge. I drank coffee. I told stories about how things used to be in the old days. I read a magazine.
And then I went home.
By morning, I was a grandfather again, and everywhere I went people congratulated me. People shook my hand and slapped me on the back saying "way to go." One group even cheered for me.
And what had I done to deserve all this? Nothing. I had done absolutely nothing.
This is great. All my life I've been looking for this kind of work. You do nothing but sit around drinking coffee, and when everyone else gets through with the work, you accept congratulations.
That's what being a granddad is all about. Doing nothing and taking all the credit. You can't find better work than that- unless you get to be the boss.
And about the only thing grandfathers do is give a lot of advice. No one pays any attention to it. But grandfathers give a lot of advice.
So I've put together some pieces of wisdom for Kirsten to remember through her life. This isn't everything she needs to know. But it's a start, taken from personal experiences.
For starters, Kirsten, never cook spaghetti sauce when you're wearing good clothes.
Smile and be nice to everyone, including those who don't deserve it.
Never make lame excuses. For example, never tell your first-grade teacher the dog at your homework. Blame it on something better- like the computer software that runs the printer.
Sit as often as you can on the laps of your mom and dad.
When you say something you're not supposed to, don't tell your parents you learned it from granddad.
When someone wants to take your picture, no matter how much you hate it, smile and look happy. The worse you look in a photograph, the more likely it will get shown to everyone for the rest of your life.
Get up early. In every home and family, the early bird gets the worms- and the last hot water in the shower.
Say your prayers every day.
Get plenty of sleep. Attitude has a lot do with how much sleep you get. Go to bed early, sleep all night, and the morning you'll be surprised at how much better your parents' attitude will be.
Don't be afraid of hard work. Avoid it if you can. But don't be afraid of it.
Always find something positive to say.
Welcome to our world, Kirsten. You will learn it has its ups and owns.
But don't ever forget: It's a better place because you are here.
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