Archive for the ‘grandson’ tag
I am writing today’s post from the airport in Toronto as I wait for the boarding call to ShangHai. I have been fortunate over the past two weeks to be with my grandson and his family. It didn’t take many days before I was the adult to go to for the little guy, especially as I got to care for him when he was ill and not able to go to playschool. The photo taken above is from yesterday morning. There is little question that the bonding went two ways and for that I am immensely thankful and blessed.
Relationship is vital and unavoidable. I often talk here of individuation and I wonder if some of my readers mistake individuation as being something that exists separate from relationship. Individuation is about getting to know oneself through interactions with others in the outer world, with objects in the outer world as well as the culture and place on the planet in which we find ourselves. Relationship must also consider an inner world filled with its own cast of characters and complexes and landscapes. What we discover about ourselves is only possible through our responses and our awareness of our responses to both inner and outer worlds.
One does not live in a bubble that excludes the inner and outer worlds. In absence of inner and outer world there is no sense of self, no sense of separateness, no sense of otherness. Two weeks watching my grandson expand his awareness of both himself and his grandfather has taught both of us, blessed both of us. And, as a result I leave his home a better man.
I will begin with a comment about the guest photographer, my wife. At times she does get to pry the camera from my hands in order to prove to the family and our friends that I was indeed part of the event or activity or touring. Today’s post has three of her photos taken in recent days with the subject being Grandfather and Grandson. I have one son and he has one son and the three of us are very, very close to each other.
Since our arrival in Toronto, I have been able to spend a good amount of time with this little man, building a relationship that hopefully will grow and deepen. Of my two grandfathers, my paternal grandfather stands out as being “closest” to me. For whatever reason, the maternal grandfather didn’t seem as close. That said, given the time and history of both families, I accepted the reality of the way it was.
For my grandchildren, six grandsons, I hope they will remember a closer grandfather, one though often distant in geography is still a man who values them as individuals. All six grandsons don’t hesitate to hug and kiss their “Papa-Père” or to just hang out together on a floor building with Legos, playing road hockey, wandering through the tall grass, hiking in the hills, chatting around a campfire in the back yard, or just rough-housing. Guy time is important between a grandfather and grandsons.
The relationship between father and son, as well as grandfather and grandson, is a powerful masculine relationship regardless of how little or how much time and energies are invested in the relationship. My son continues to communicate, almost daily, with me whether I am in a different province in Canada or in a different country thanks to social media and the Internet. There is no fear of approaching matters of depth or in trust. My son reads the words I place here and I am fully aware of that as I compose my posts here. But knowing that doesn’t have me hold back in my posting. If anything, the fact that my children read this forces me to be honest.
And that is what is most important for me, to live and write with authenticity. I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect father as we are all wounded, all caught up in our individual battles with personal shadows. My three children know that I am fallible, that I have my personal issues which naturally have affected their lives. Yet somehow, being honest has not created distance, but has somehow allowed me to be more myself with them. And, in my opinion, that relationship is richer because of the honest, the messiness and the willingness to be present with each other.
Obviously, I didn’t take this photo. That said, it is one that I feel fits today’s post, the last one from Canada as I leave tomorrow morning for Costa Rica. I am holding my youngest grandson, the son of my son. Though he is a bit unhappy in this photo, most of our moments together during this Christmas season have been moments of smiling and curiosity. He doesn’t know it yet, but there will a long journey for him to follow, one that will have both tears and laughter, moments of both love and hate.
One of the images for the New Year that I have often seen is that of an old man passing on the light to a baby. In our real world, this passing of the light isn’t something that happens on one particular night, it is series of events that must be lived with intention on the part of the old man. The child watches, studies, and learns from what the old man lives.
This is my task, to live in a way that somehow gifts my grandson with a model of what is possible, something that can be drawn upon in the future when I am no more in the flesh, when I am a memory that lives on in my son and his son.
Just a little side note, we will be having a rare double blue moon on December 31st here in Saskatchewan, Canada as well as in many other places in the world. Happy New Year to all of you who read this blog.
This is a male Rufous-Sided Towhee found in the semi-desert hills of south-western Saskatchewan. One of my grandsons pointed out this bird to me while we were hiking in the hills. There were seven of us, a grandfather, a son-in-law and five grandsons – a gathering of the masculine. At one point, the youngest had a small fall with a very slight skinning of one knee – a wounding of sorts. Of course, that resulted in a badge of honour, a chance to be manly. As Monick points out:
Masculinity is an accomplishment, not a birthright – so strong is the pull of nature-mother. (Monick, Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine, 1987, p. 48)
The bridging of generations for males is built through small rituals and large rituals as well as containment of the developing masculine in the absence of the mother. A sense of self as a masculine being is simply that, a sense of self. It isn’t about other, it isn’t about power over other. It is about self awareness as a male.