Know how long I’ve been writing this column? Let’s put it this way: Many of you probably remember when I used to write about my teenage daughter and her adventures with cheerleading and prom-dress-buying.
Well, that teenager is now 26 years old and married — and just had her first baby. For those keeping score at home, it was a little boy, 20 inches, 7 pounds 12 ounces, all the requisite fingers and toes. Mother and child doing fine, thank you.
And yes, that does make me a grandfather.
I know what you’re thinking: “Rob, you look way too young to be a grandfather.” That could be because the photograph that accompanies this column is 10 years old, and back then I was too young to be a grandfather.
Then again, I must still look something like that photo, because people still recognize me in public:
“Hey, aren’t you the guy that writes in the paper?”
“Why yes, I am.”
“I read your column all the time.”
“I think you’re an idiot.”
(Another thing I hear a lot is, “You’re much taller than you look in your picture.” Really? It’s a headshot. And I was sitting down when it was taken.)
But I digress. I was talking about my new grandson, whom I haven’t even met yet. Inexplicably, my Southern belle of a daughter now lives in Boise, Idaho. Something about her husband’s job and wanting to be with him, yada-yada. Go figure.
Of course grandma, formerly known as my wife, has been out to see the baby, and in fact returned only because I hired a pair of ex-CIA agents to kidnap her at gunpoint. I predict any day now it will be safe for me to remove the handcuffs. If you don’t see my column next week, you’ll know I miscalculated.
We are flying out to Boise for the holidays and taking our three sons, which means that for Christmas this year everyone’s getting a plane ticket and a small bag of Delta peanuts. Instead of letting Santa decide who’s been naughty and nice, we’ll have to leave that determination to the TSA.
It’s well worth it, though, to get to spend Christmas together — not to mention getting to meet my new grandson. We’ve Skyped a few times, but that was kind of frustrating. At 4 weeks old, he’s already more technologically advanced than I am.
I’ve always been one of those people who don’t like change. I hated seeing my kids grow up and move out of the house (except No. 4, currently still in residence), not least because it meant I had to look harder for things to write about. A house full of teenagers is practically a newspaper column in itself.
But this — becoming a grandfather — is a life change I can get used to, assuming I live past the next few days.
Now, where did I put those handcuff keys?
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of “Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility,” available at Books for Less in Buford and on Amazon. Email Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit familymanthebook.com.