I was called by many names in my lifetime: baby, sibling, teenager, Uncle, In-law, parent, grand parent. At each stage, I took pieces of this journey and grew. I am not my father yet many see him in my eyes as I see him in the eyes of my children. We know that the joy of our childhood is lost as we grow and learn yet we yearn for both the learning and the childhood. At each step, we know what we leave behind, sometimes in sadness, sometimes in joy, but always with the expectation of hope for the future.
As a child I rejoiced in my growth and maturity, as my parents grieved for the lost child that then grew into adulthood. Yet, my parents again rejoiced in this new adult laced with strength, knowledge, guilt, and pain, knowing that the pure and innocent child would never return. As my responsibilities in life increased, the role of my parents decreased. Where once I was the student of their teaching, I then became the teacher. My parents became the observers, judging the effectiveness of their own teaching.
Now as a grand father, I have become the observer. I have grieved the loss of the childhood of my children, yet celebrated their growth. Now I judge the effectiveness of my teaching. And as I grow older with the hope of becoming a great grand parent, my role will again diminish. My family never sought fame, only the happiness of holding the hearts of others. Yet, I know that as I age into irrelevance, their hearts now beat stronger for others.
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