When I first met my father-in-law, I fell in love. Don’t get me wrong, obviously I loved my husband first, but there was something very charming about my father-in-law. In fact, I even jokingly told my then boyfriend, his dad was the real reason I was marrying him. That was 8 years ago, and my admiration for my father-in-law has only grown in those years. Some might say it’s because my own father passed away when I was only 10 years old. Others would say obviously you love him, he’s your husband’s dad. The reality of why I initially felt so strongly about him was probably somewhere in the middle. Once my son was born, almost 4 years ago, I knew it was nothing short of a blessing. My son is basically my father-in-law’s mini-me, both in looks and behavior.
From the moment my son was born he and my father-in-law, Vittorio, have had a special relationship. My father-in-law spent his fatherhood working multiple jobs to provide for his immigrant family, so there were experiences he missed…changing diapers and feeding times among the top of his list, I’m sure. With my son around, while he still never changed a diaper, he definitely learned about some of the moments he missed. One of the best is the time he and my son spend outside together in my inlaws’ amazing garden. As my brother-in-law and husband say, they were NEVER allowed in the garden for fear they would destroy something, but my son can do no wrong. (It’s totally true!) In fact, he HAS ripped out complete plants, and my father-in-law barely says a peep.
Another bonding activity the two hold dear is constructing. My father-in-law can build almost anything…and he probably has. While my husband and son enjoy the monthly Home Depot visit to build a craft, my son and my father-in-law like to invent and fix while they tinker with random pieces of wood. This gift of creativity and ingenuity is something that will stick with him for the rest of his life.We already see the benefits of it when he plays with his blocks and Legos.
I could easily write the same kind of post about the relationship my son has with both of his grandmothers or uncles, but for some reason, during this month in which my father-in-law turned 72, we are celebrating Fathers’ Day. This holiday is always bittersweet for me, as the 27th anniversary of the passing of my own dad will soon follow. Watching these two bond and help each other discover new and interesting aspects of life seemed to call out to me. My son may never know how blessed he is to have such a wonderful relationship with his “Nonno”, but I will…and for that, I’m eternally grateful, as he has more than made up for being the one and only my son has.
What kind of relationship do your children have with their grandparents?