Christmases come and go and always Grandpa anchored events from a big chair in the corner. Now, Grandpa’s gone and Dad’s visiting my sister, so I’m the anchor. How did this happen?
There was a time when NFL quarterbacks were my age. It was good to play the game vicariously through their similar faddish words, dress, and insights. Now I’m old enough to be the quarterback’s father. His hair is funny looking—won’t see me wearing hair swooped to the center in a pointy Mohawk—he uses words coined yesterday, and his insights at times seem laughably immature. Don’t even ask me about college quarterbacks. How did this happen?
There was a time when someone else picked up the restaurant tab. We were, after all, young marrieds with more kids than dough. Now I pick up a lot of tabs.
There was a time when my kids were little eepers fawned over by grandparents. Now my kids are parents with little eepers of their own and we’re the fawning grandparents, “Grandpa Rex” in the parlance of our grandsons. Because “Grandpa Rogers” is my Dad when he’s able to come and of course our grandsons have grandfathers on the other side of their family too.
There was a time when we piled the kids in the car and went to the grandparents’ house. Now the family comes to our house. Not a bad deal, this. Grandma works more in the kitchen but enjoys it and Grandpa can steal away to write a blog. Meanwhile the house is full of noisy boys. Pretty good.
I remember my grandfathers, patriarchs in their own way, both men short of stature with take-over-the-room personalities. Now I am, I guess, an “emerging Patriarch.” What this means besides picking up the tab I’ve not yet figured out, but I’ve picked up a few things so far:
--Patriarchs pray over meals.
--Patriarchs good-naturedly endure jokes about gray hair, putting on weight, snoring, and falling asleep at the cinema.
--Patriarchs offer opinions, solicited and unsolicited, on pretty much everything.
--Patriarchs take out the trash, bring in the wood, and stay out of the kitchen.
--Patriarchs read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.
--Patriarchs love the resident Matriarch, modeling this for all to see.
--Patriarchs grow into this idea of being the oldest one in the room and try to wear it well.
Being the oldest one in the room has its own joys and privileges. Your horizon’s bigger, so you see farther. You understand things differently and more deeply than you did when you were younger. You get to be amused and bemused by your progeny. You appreciate God more because you’ve seen more of what he’s done. Pretty good.
I’ll watch Dad when he’s in town. And I’ll keep working on this patriarch business. Judging by how my grandfathers handled it and how Dad is conducting himself now, I know patriarchs are supposed to finish well. Pretty good.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010
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