The Remarkable Influence Of Grandparents


The author and his wife Carol

by Neil Bamforth

It’s slightly odd really isn’t it? Young children are often ‘closer’ to their grandparents than to their parents. Their parents are, not surprisingly, younger than their grandparents – well, it would be bloody strange if that wasn’t the case anyway – and yet, the children are closer to the older generation of grandparents.

I’m sure this isn’t always the case. I’m sure that there are any number of people out there who, for one reason or another, couldn’t stand their grandparents. I am generalizing here and, as a generalization, a remarkable number of children often find themselves closer to their grandparents than their parents.

I certainly was and, indeed, so were many of my friends.

It possibly had something to do with discipline. Parents tend to discipline their children when they feel it is necessary. I’m not talking about physically here, albeit some parents, no doubt, still do give their children a slap.

Grandparents have been there and got the tee-shirt. They are more relaxed now. It isn’t their kids ‘playing up’, it’s their kids kids. The grandchildren are only around to be given treats and enjoyed.

Well, that’s my theory anyway.

I am delighted to announce that, sometime in August of this year, I will become a Grampa. I will not be Grandfather nor Grandad, I will be Grampa.

I have a silver tankard for my grandchild to enjoy – when they are a little older obviously. I have no idea whether it will be a grandson or granddaughter and, frankly, nor do I care. Healthy is just fine.

The tankard is engraved already. “Just in case my grandchild dear – Like your Grampa you love beer”. There is also an Oldham Athletic baby grow on order.

When I mentioned to my daughter’s partner that any grandchild of mine will be an Oldham Athletic supporter – rather than Chelsea or Manchester United – he suggested that ‘disappointment was a good life lesson.’ This clearly shows he understands me, which is impressive as few usually do.

It has also dawned on me that, as I am heading in the direction of grandparenthood, I must be getting old.

Grandparents are you know. Old that is. Well, they are compared to people in their 20’s and 30’s and so forth. That is a slight predicament for us chaps you know.

You see, women grow up and age gracefully. Men just pretend to. Men are invariably 18 in their heads forever. In my case, according to my wife, 16 on a good day is nearer the mark.

I told my daughter that I would be ‘such a good influence’ as a Grampa. I have no idea why she burst out laughing. Odd reaction I thought.

I have long had what I considered to be a cunning plan for immortality. Basically it was very simple. Just keep breathing.

Now I realize that, as I am to become a grandparent, I really am no longer 18 years old, or 16 on a good day for the wife’s benefit. I have more past behind me than future ahead of me. Well, unless my cunning plan works anyway.

Thoughts of mortality occasionally impinge on my usual thoughts of ‘what shall I eat’ and ‘is it too early for beer?’ and ‘have I really smoked 20 already?’ and so on and so forth.

Still. Becoming a grandparent means that I have made it to a far greater age than I thought I would. A far greater age than my contemporaries thought I would.

In my school leaving book, all classmates were invited to predict what they believed may happen to their classmates after they had left school. Several wrote against my photograph ‘Dead by 21’ so, I’ve beaten somebody’s odds anyway!

Life really can be a bitch you know but, looking back, I’ve had a hand in producing a highly intelligent daughter – she has her mothers brains obviously – and now, I will have made it to grandparenthood.

My grandchild will have Scottish and Irish ancestry from my wife. Lancastrian ancestry from me. German ancestry from my daughters partners mother and Italian from his father. His stepfather is half Chinese. I know stepfathers are technically not grandfathers from a ‘blood’ perspective but this one will be because he’s a cracking chap.

Heck of a mix then grandchild of mine eh?

Trying to remember all those ancestry traits when you’re older could well ensure that tankard comes in handy. You’ll need a beer to recover from the mix!

Roll on August. Oh! I’ll be such a good influence won’t I?

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Posted by on February 3, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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7 Responses to The Remarkable Influence Of Grandparents

  1. jess Reply

    February 3, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    I would have burst out laughing at your ass too when you said that. That being said, I am so very happy for you and your family, please relay my congratulations to your daughter and her partner.

  2. Neil Bamforth Reply

    February 3, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Will do..Ta very much 😘

    What’s so funny? 😂😂😂😂

    • jess Reply

      February 3, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      Aw come on really, you being a good influence you really have to ask when you already know the answer to this question 🙂 Now I have to go ne miserable aout leaving rainy San Francisco bay area to go to freezing cold Glasgow to go to my friend there then Aberdeen in a couple of days for the wedding on the 9th. Got an email from one of the people hosting me saying silver lining, we can now take you ice climbing in the highlands, it will be a really good experience. I will leave you with part of the reply I gave her and you can guess at the rest. If I am going to be climbing anything in the highlands it is not going to be fucking ice it is going to be………….

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        February 4, 2019 at 8:24 am

        What? What? You can’t do that to us Jess! …it is going to be…

        • jess Reply

          February 4, 2019 at 3:07 pm

          A tall highlander wearing a kilt 🙂

  3. Bill Formby Reply

    February 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Neil, being a grandparent is sort of like being a parent or a child. It is a new experience for everyone because everyone only gets to do it once. I took a cur from my parents. Everything I felt that they had done wrong I was going to do differently. My son has five children, my only grandchildren. When the first was born I made them a promise. I told them I would always be there for them and for each and every grandchild but I was never going to interfere with there parenting just as I had never let my parents interfere with my parenting. As each child got to an appropriate age I told them the same thing. I don’t show up at their house on a regular basis, mostly I wait to be invited, but I support them in anything they do. I am often the explainer as to why their mom and dad insist on certain things. It works out well.

  4. Neil Bamforth Reply

    February 3, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Jess : Climb on!!! 😂😂😂😂…..I’ll teach em to love and respect animals n the environment…..and beer a little later of course 😀👍🍺

    Bill : I said that to my daughter in her cot….I’m pleased to say I have been there too. I’ll be there for any grandchildren too….long as I’m breathing.

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