One of the many nice things about having a grandchild is that she “belongs” to you. And Lo, with her winning personality and charming smile, reinforces that attachment. I am sure that each of us in her care team, family and network of friends feels it. And you know that I am obsessed with her. Which is why it is funny and a bit insulting that the person she is obsessed with seems to be my husband. (And perhaps, Elmo.)
Of course Brian adores her. Without any of his own memories of grandparents (a story for another day), he may have hoped for, but did not expect and was not prepared for the wonder that is a grandchild. At the risk of embarrassing him (aw, what the heck), Lo’s existence has inspired him to regularly well up with tears. As he did with our kids, he inspects her appearance and demeanor to catalog the “Bendiks” in her. My genes as well the genes of my daughter-in-law and all our ancestors must be substantially weaker as no evidence of our contributions has yet been identified.I must acknowledge that Brian is both a devoted and capable grandfather. He is a able set of helping hands for a challenging diaper change or when Nana needs a break. He throws dignity to the wind and sings, dances and banters nonsense for Lo’s entertainment. He saves for her college eduction.
But, unlike me, he can ignore Lo. Lo, however, cannot ignore him. Brian can be reading the paper and remain unaware that Lo is staring at him, smiling and exercising her newly found skill of waving. A quite pathetic state of affairs. If he leaves the room, she will focus on the doorway. When he finally reappears, she will start in again with the shy smiling and waving. As he did with our infant daughter, Brian sometimes refers to Lo as “it” as in “what time will it need a nap?” This affront does not offend Lo. She still wants Papa’s attention, his affection and, as he has been labeled, “her own personal clown.”
While I obsess and plan what to teach her and show her and chronicle her every change, Brian loves her simply, naturally, distractedly. Playing hard to get has paid off. And, if perhaps you sensed just a smidgen of jealousy, I will admit to it but also acknowledge how wonderful it is that the two of them – the oldest living Bendiks and the youngest – have found each other.