My dear granddaughter,
In a few weeks you will be five years old. I can’t believe it's been so long since you came to enlighten my life and give me a better perspective of it. It is usually said that children should be grateful for their parents, who have dedicated much of their life to give them the necessary things to move ahead. And even though it is still true, the joy of seeing them flourish and develop to get ahead is not mentioned. At the end, what every parent wants for their children is to be happy, and in most cases this does not come without a great deal of pain and frustration, along with the joy and satisfaction of seeing a child grow.
That gratitude says nothing about what parents owe to their children. The best way to describe this debt is learning that human beings need to understand their peers and do for them what is right, not what they want. If parents have not learned this lesson from their children, then they did not do their job well.
However, little is said about what grandparents owe to grandchildren. Oh My God! Where to begin? The first day I saw you, without any logical explanation, my emotional and spiritual structures teetered dangerously. Not to mention social structures. They were pulverized.
You know me well. And you know that your grandfather is very sentimental and walks with his emotions running high all the time. How could you not know? Despite your young age, you manipulate him expertly so that with extreme happiness, your grandfather litters the floor with you to play or lets you jump over him, hit him, tweak him, and allows you to think that his face is more malleable than the dough we use to build your cookies and dinosaurs. To learn how and when to ask for the Teddy Bear you want or the candy you shouldn’t eat, and even make him a criminal in the eyes of your mother and your grandmother for giving you what you should not have. In addition, you have no qualms about tattling on him despite having promised you are not going to say anything.
But your grandfather is happy to be your accomplice, your horse, your toy or whatever you want him to be and take the blame for your pranks with ease. I confess that when you make me wear makeup and bracelets and beads I really don’t enjoy it. But inside I’m overwhelmed me with so tender and warm feelings that my academic and professional achievements are dwarfed and are made to appear vain.
How can this be explained? At the age of your grandfather, a man is full of scars and wounds that are the result of going through life with the daily struggles, betrayals, deceptions, manipulations and conflicts with other human beings in this constant race against time and against others. Be the best, be the one, be the one who won…
The older you are, the more difficult it is to achieve relations where one is willing to give everything without receiving anything in return. You become cautious and careful when approaching another person. Old people are not willing to open their heart and even less their soul. Risk analysis, cost benefit ratio, what I have to give and what will I get. In a word, relationships with other human beings are increasingly resembling business relationships. And many times we prefer to keep what we have for fear of being hurt or mistreated.
You will ask me:
- Why is it so? When I want to play, I play, and if someone wants to hurt me, I defend myself or I avoid it, but at least I try it. Besides, I forget it after a while.
I'll give you an example that will be easy for you to understand. When it rains, you see that adults take an umbrella to go out and not get wet. They even prefer not to go anywhere due to bad weather.
This is what most people do because it is a nuisance to be walking around all soaked. But you prefer to go out and get wet and play with water and mud and have fun and more fun. And you love it. In past days, adults were like you but today they have forgotten it and prefer to protect themselves from the very thing you like so much.
It's the same with feelings and emotions. So often they have been damaged and abused by opening their heart, that they prefer to keep it in a box so nobody can even touch it. Then, as you lose the fun of playing in the rain, you lose the ability to love and give what you have to others so you can go through life well protected. You stop getting involved and commit because it is the price you pay for having saved your heart. Of course, nobody can hurt you. And of course, no one can give you anything because you have nowhere to put it. Your heart no longer receives visitors.
Almost all older people are like that. There comes a time where we forget we have that little box with our heart inside and we even lose the key.
Then one day, someone like you comes into our lives. A grandson, a granddaughter. And suddenly, everything changes. The box is broken, the heart erupts violently into your life and all the love you had saved fills your life and your being. And when you see a little person who weighs nothing, says nothing and everything he or she does it is poo-poo (lots of it), plus wail loudly and drink milk and more milk.
That’s when our life changes. We are happy like we were many years ago. The world is full of sunshine and our lives full of joy and rejoicing. The heart is beating again hard and the box has been broken forever.
We start to see people differently, we become more friendly, more loving, more understanding. We understand once and for all that neither we nor others are perfect. It is normal to make mistakes and have weaknesses. And we began to see everything more clearly. Finally, life has meaning, the joy of living returns and as Scrooge discovers in the story of Dickens, "A Christmas Carol" we see that it is not too late, that life is wonderful and we have every right in the world to live it with joy and happiness.
Now you have a little sister. Like when you were born, for now she does nothing and yet she does it all. I do not want you to get jealous, but I again feel the same as when you were born. And if some more come, it will happen the same. But you'll always be unique and unrepeatable, as will your sister and all who come. They all will be the most loved, always. And each one of you will be my favorite.
I hope someday you can read this. I write it with that purpose. But more important is that you understand and know what grandparents owe to grandchildren.
Grandchildren are responsible for giving grandparents a reason to live when they think everything is over for them. And that, my dear granddaughter, cannot be bought with all the gold in the world.
Your grandfather who adores you,