Dear Dad,

Last night was an average night.  Squeezing in dinner with you, me and the kids after a busy weekend.  As we were trying to plan dinner, the kids all had different ideas about what was to happen. One didn’t want to leave the house and wanted you to come over for dinner.  One was feeling picky about the food choice.  And another was asking me questions about timing and the upcoming basketball game, which everyone wanted to watch. But somehow we got it all together and met you at our favorite Dinkytown restaurant.

As we sat there, the conversation was the same as always: science, creation of a new source of energy, religion, the crisis overseas and the kids picking on one another (lovingly of course!).  But, it wasn’t the content of the conversations that struck me.  It was the ease at which you spoke with them.  Never judging their ideas.  Never shutting down their opinions, even the ones that were different from yours.

There’s a serious difference between being a parent and being a grandparent.  We parents tend to want to put our own spin and direction on what’s happening with our kids.  We can be a bit more controlling.  But being a grandparent, you have the ability (and sanity) to step back, listen and simply encourage.

I remember my mom saying that if she’d known how great it was to be a grandma, she’d have done it first.  I’m not sure I’d agree as I’m having the time of my life with the kids right now (as I know only you can understand).  Yet, I’ve told all three that when it’s time (and it’s NOT time yet) to have sex for the purpose of having children (again kids, it’s NOT time yet!), I want them to have a lot of it.   I just can’t wait to be a grandma!! 🙂

So Dad, I appreciate the role you play in your grandkids’ lives.  I know it’s not always been that way.  But why look backward, when we can live in the moment eating chinese food?  And, if I’ve learned anything about you and my kids, it’s that there’s no other relationship that can give so much with so little — other than love.

Thanks again for dinner.  It was just an average night that felt not-so-average to me.

Love JK

Friends: Your letter can be to anyone important in the lives of your children.  We parents can take a lesson from our parents or other elders.  When we just sit back, listen and allow our kids to talk … it’s amazing what comes out – unfiltered, heartfelt, and with a curiosity about the world that often ends as we hit adulthood.  It’s easy to forget how open their minds are and how much they can learn from people other than us! Have a great start to your week.