My wife and I have been experiencing the joy of grandparenting on dramatically different levels in the past few weeks. Kristin has spent the length of July in full immersion at the kids’ home in Kentucky working a heavy rotation of midnight feedings and diaper changes, then pulling full-time nanny-granny duty while Charlotte puts in 12-hour days at work. Grandma is heroically filling the gap while our son-in-law logs a month’s worth of flight training hours a few states away. More or less reprising the role of "new parent," Kristin admits to daily back-and-forth flips between breathless joy and utter exhaustion.
As for me, I’ve been holding down the fort, working my 9 to 5 and sharing photos of my adorable grandson to the oohs and aahs of every person I encounter. Grandparenting doesn’t get any easier than that! Within a few weeks, however, Kristin and I will switch roles (if only for a comparatively short time) when she returns to civilization and I take her place on the wild frontier.
As a father of three I’m certainly no stranger to midnight feedings and fussy babies. I am, however, about to face one very specific task I have managed to avoid entirely for my grandson’s first five months of life — diaper changing!
It’s not that I’m particularly averse to nasty things. Having disposed of veritable mountains of doggy doo one plastic bag-covered handful at a time, and plunged more revolting toilet bowl clots than a mid-career plumber, I have faced-down the disgusting with unfortunate regularity. Furthermore, let us not forget the three young bottoms to which I was bound by love and duty to tend just a few short decades ago. I’ve done diaper duty, and plenty of it, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dance a little jig when our youngest fully embraced the potty chair. Freedom never smelled sweeter.
I’m fairly certain when Kristin and Charlotte read this they’re going to look at each other and say, "It’s never even occurred to me that he’s been avoiding diaper duty!"
That’s because I’m a crafty old cuss who knows how to disappear when things get ugly. I wish I had a highlight tape of the times I’ve conveniently handed the kid off to an unsuspecting victim, or when I simply dissolve into the background as volunteers are sought when the boy starts stinking up the room. I’ve also learned to expertly "play the hearing loss card" where I selectively dial up the range of my partial deafness to just beyond the frequency of the typical female voice.
I know, I know. I’m going to have to roll up my sleeves and take care of business once I’m flying solo during my nanny-grampy tour of duty. Don’t worry. I fully intend to serve with honor — but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! And you can bet your bottom that I’ll be switching right back into avoidance mode once my duty is done!
(I’d love to hear your questions or comments! Write to John Lorson Send Help, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627. Be sure to check out Facebook for time-lapse film clips of Kristin’s artwork and other fun stuff at JohnLorsonSendHelp)