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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Labor Day morning we drove 2 hours to Chattanooga to visit my dad’s parents. My grandfather was retiling the shower when we arrived.
All Jack could see was the backside of man in overalls, who was pounding something with a hammer, but he was sold.
Whoever this mystery man was, my son needed to met him.
I didn’t bother explaining that he was my “dada’s dada.” I just let him be enthralled.
We made our way into the living room and Jack barely gave my grandfather time to sit down before Jack was making him play.
As weird as this sounds, my son has never been exposed to a toy sword before. So after finding one in their toy stash, he kept flying the “airplane” all over my grandfather.
It’s pretty easy to get my son to think you’re cool- just be a grandfather.
I have no trouble understanding this attraction. Little boys are adventurous.
And who has seen more adventure than a Korean War veteran with a Purple Heart? Somehow Jack sensed this about my grandfather.
Jack loves grandfathers.
I’ve mentioned before that in some ways, no one seems to understand Jack better than my dad, who he calls Papa. Jack has always been obsessed with my dad.
When I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. Though we live 2 and a half hours from my parents, Jack randomly says “Papa” in the middle of playtime for no apparent reason. Except for maybe that he associates adventure with his Papa.
This past weekend we hung out with Jack’s friend Henry, his parents, and grandparents. There was the train ride with Thomas, then breakfast at First Watch, and lastly we decided to tour the pet store next door.
After exploring several of the aisles with me nonchalantly trailing behind him, Jack saw Henry’s grandfather around the corner.
He lifted his hands up to him and said in his Todfather voice: “Up-eh!”
From there, Henry’s grandfather carried Jack around the store, as Jack pointed to the direction his new chauffeur was to take him.
I guess that’s one of the things that grandfathers are known for in the mind of a toddler boy; getting carried around in the likeness of a parrot on the shoulder of a pirate.
After a few minutes, Henry’s grandfather brought Jack back and sort of whispered like he was telling me a secret:
“When it comes to grandpa’s, boys just seem to know.”
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Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
One of the highlights of my day is always picking up Jack from daycare, because I know he will come running to me with a big smile on his face.
Then, he’ll cuddle up close to me like a koala bear as I hold him and collect his things before taking him out to the car.
With Jack, moments of cuddling like that are rare. It’s safe to proclaim, he’s just not a cuddly kind of kid.
I want to say that I wish he was. But that would be me being selfish.
Because he was designed to be an adventurer and an explorer, so it’s not in his nature to want to let me squeeze him like the Snuggles bear whenever I feel like it; which is actually quite often.
Jack wants to be led into swashbuckling missions. He wants to see the unknown. He wants to ride in the bottom storage part of the shopping cart at Whole Foods Market.
I have to let Jack be Jack, even if that means that at least for right now, I can’t just lay on the couch with him, being close and cuddly. Because that’s what I want.
So I accept that his love language is probably not physical touch.
Instead, I think Jack interprets love through quality time and acts of service.
That typically involves me exerting a lot of energy and burning a bunch of calories and not having much time to just chill out when I’m with him.
It’s not so much that I’m constantly having to entertain him; it’s that I’m constantly needing to engage him. Interestingly, the activities that best express my love to him in a way that he accepts as valid are the ones that most wear him out and cause him to need to take a nap.
Now I can understand even better why roughhousing with my son is so vitally important.
Chasing him like I’m a lion, then gently tossing him on the random air mattress in our living room is the equivalent to snuggling with him. That’s how Jack sees it.
And perhaps my subconscious realization of that naturally makes me want to play rough with him in the first place.
It’s been no secret that Jack and my dad have always had a special bond.
Even when Jack was only a couple of months old, he always appreciated my dad carrying him around the house, showing him the insides of bedrooms and the pictures on the walls.
What is it about that special bond between grandfather and grandson? It’s not just their same first and last name.
I believe it has a whole lot to do with the fact my dad does a perfect love of expressing love to Jack in a way that Jack can best understand it.
Remember the whole water hose incident last weekend?
Prime example. Put Jack and his Papa together, and they’ll figure out something fun to do.
My son isn’t the Snuggles bear.
But I do think he might be Curious George.
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Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Something always told me, during the pregnancy, that Jack wouldn’t really look that much like me. He inherited my gender and my dark hair (though his hair appears to be lightening up a bit), but other than that, my physical traits have yet to truly surface in him. And it’s not that he doesn’t look like my wife- people have said they see more of her in him, yet still no one says that he absolutely looks just like either of us. That’s because, for right now, he looks like Grandpa Tuttle- my wife’s dad.
I see the resemblance most in Jack’s eyes. Even when/if Jack’s eyes darken to brown eventually, he still will have the eye shape of his grandfather. Bill Tuttle, my father-in-law and Jack’s maternal grandfather, passed away just a few months after my wife and I got married in 2008. But I am constantly reminded of him when I look at Jack. This helps me to better understand the concept of how children are truly an extension of their family.
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