Tom’s paternal grandparents visited from Pittsburgh last weekend. The trip from Pennsylvania to Virginia is a long one and they aren’t able to visit often, so when they do it’s particularly special.
To mark the occasion, I balanced my camera on an up-turned bench and a bunch of encyclopedias and dusted off the self-timer.
And also, the kids did 12 straight hours of pool tricks, we listened to stories and caught up on news about far-away family, David stepped on a bee, and Mary Virginia spiked a fever just so Grandma and Pap could get the full Krieger family experience.
Grandma and Pap’s visit gave me the opportunity to explain the “great-grandfather” relationship to my almost-five-year old. It’s a challenge, you can’t just say, “he’s Daddy’s grandpa” because David doesn’t know the word grandpa (his grandfathers go by “Pops” and “Gramps”). So instead, I say — Pap is Daddy’s pops. And he’s Pops’s daddy. It makes no sense and sort of sounds like a tongue-twister.
It doesn’t make sense because little kids don’t even fully understand the grandparent relationship. I’ve told my kids that Grammy is my mom, but they have trouble conceptualizing me as a kid, or that the world was turning before they entered it. And it gets particularly confusing when you throw in that your cousins share one set of grandparents, but not the other. Actually. Let’s get back to basics. When pressed, can your kid really explain what a mother is?
So I say, “Pops is Daddy’s daddy, and Pap is Pops’s daddy.” And when David just wrinkles his nose, I ruffle his hair and say, “Sorry bud, that’s the best I can do. Maybe you should ask someone who doesn’t rely on autocorrect to text.”