I am just now reading this, Jim — moving activities and work have consumed most of my time! Your words are so heartfelt and genuine. What a loving tribute to your daughter and granddaughter, and what a tribute to you, as a grandfather and father.
I wish my father had been like you. He raised three girls because he had to, not because he wanted to. My mother’s passing and my stepmother leaving because she could not take anymore left him to be a single father, a job he never wanted and did not appreciate. He fed and clothed us, took care of the necessities and sometimes a little more, never physically abused us, and for all that I am extremely grateful (I know many children raised by single fathers or single mothers dream of the physical comforts I enjoyed), but he was lacking in connections. Like most narcissists, he could be funny and charming with strangers but was emotionally distant with us. We tiptoed around his moods and tantrums, fretted over a slight mistake because his response would be explosive and last for weeks. As I said, no physical abuse but we cowered from the yelling, stomping, and slamming of doors, but worse — much worse — was the weeks of silent treatment. A broken glass or a spilled liquid would leave him scowling and mute (with us) for days or weeks. Once, when I was a teenager, we had a disagreement about who sang a song — not a fight, a civil difference of opinion before Google was around to prove who was correct— and he did not speak to me for six months (My sisters were grown and married — it was just my father and I in the house, in a very rural area with few neighbors), resulting in me leaving to live with my stepmother.
As a grandfather, he just chose not to acknowledge that he was one. His grandchildren — my eldest sister had two girls, my other sister had two boys — weren’t even blimps on his radar. We were estranged when I adopted my daughter but he would not have been any more attentive to or interested in her. He just did not care about any of his grandchildren, even saying that he did not create them so they did not interest him. Truth is, he created us and never showed a true interest in us either — never asking how we were, what happened in school, or when we were adults, inquiring about our lives. I spent most of my life hoping he would become the father I needed and wanted, not giving up on that hope until I was almost fifty.
I am so happy when I see a man embracing and appreciating his role as a father and grandfather. Even some men who were lacking as fathers become phenomenal grandfathers. Time can be a patient teacher.
I hope you had a fabulous Father’s Day! Sending belated hugs to you, your daughter, and granddaughter!