Recently my daughter suggested that I need to tell my granddaughter no. The conversation went something like this: Daughter – “Dad, you need to learn how to tell her no!” Me – “Why should I?” “You think I need to learn how to tell her no? I don’t think so!”
And really, why should I? Anna (the angel-faced granddaughter) and I have a deal. She asks for something and I give it to her. It’s a great system – she’s happy; I’m happy. We like being happy – it’s the parental units that are such spoil-sports. And when Anna says. “Peez, Pawpaw…?” Who am I to deny her?
Now in fairness, I don’t let her have EVERYTHING she wants. But really is a little ice cream or another episode of “Wonder Pets®” or “Dora the Explorer®” going to do any permanent harm? She’s two; I’m fifty-five and we really like ice cream and Dora! I will admit that I’m a soft-touch. Those big green eyes and that sweet smile melt my heart like butter on a summer day. But I don’t let her have EVERYTHING; only mostly everything.
Actually the STUFF that I try to give her is time, attention, and love. Not that toys, ice cream and the occasional Nick Jr.® don’t sometimes work their way in there. But being the grandfather of a two year-old is the very essence of freedom. You get to abandon social norms. Giggling and making silly faces is mandatory. Hugs and kisses are acceptable barter for more of whatever is needed (not needed – wanted according to responsible adults – see above).
I figure I’m living on borrowed time. Someday Anna will figure out that I’m just another cranky old man. It won’t be exciting to go to the Dollar Tree® and pick out anything she wants when she’s 12 and my very presence embarrasses her. She won’t want to snuggle when she’s a teenager and HATES EVERYONE. Right now my jokes are funny and my silliness is ‘de rigueur’. Soon enough I will be someone she doesn’t really have that much time for. Oh, she’ll be kind and loving but it won’t be the same.
But right now we revel in our two year-old silliness and I continue to say YES. My daughter and son-in-law can say no all they want. Heck, they can tell me no (as if it would do any good!), but I’m sticking with my ‘Don’t Say No’ policy. After all, that’s what Pawpaws are for.