I talked with a friend of mine the other day who's a grandfather. Jim talks about his grandson like he's the greatest human being to ever live. And Adam feels the same way about Jim. Adam frequently tells his grandfather, "I wish I lived with you and Grandma all the time."
Jim told me about his trip to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville with his grandson last week. And his eyes lit up. He talked about how Adam was a little shy in doing some of the things at first, but after he got going he couldn't see the exhibits fast enough. They did the exhibits and interactive things as Adam wanted to. They ate when he wanted to. And when Adam was ready to leave, they left. It was all on his schedule, not Jim's. And Jim was fine with that.
It hit me during the conversation that the big difference in being a father and a grandfather is time. As a dad, you're always worried about schedules. What has to be done, how fast it needs to be done. As a grandfather, especially a retired grandfather, you work more off of the schedules of others. You're not as concerned about your own agenda. Your availability to others means more to them than anything. When you make yourself available to them, it pays dividends to you in the love you get back from them. And I'm pretty sure that means more to Jim than any bonus or raise he ever got.
Makes me wonder why it takes us so long to figure out things like this.....