Families are built in many different ways.
That’s why I am a grandfather at 43 years old and Beckett and Carson are uncles at 10 and 9 years old, respectively. For the record, Pam is entirely too young to be a grandmother as well. However, she, and we, wouldn’t have it any other way today, as we now have a granddaughter to dote over.
Life, thus far, has prevented the boys and I from meeting little Zoe, who was born Monday, Feb. 11 shortly after 8 a.m. to her proud parents, Steven and Trang Salvatore.
When Steven was a toddler, Pam started dating his father. They later became married and Pam helped to raise Steven, who is now a doctor in New York City, while his wife, Trang, is a nuclear pharmacist. They are wonderful people.
Raising Steven is a chapter in Pam’s life she is incredibly proud of and deservedly so. She did an amazing job and valued her involvement in his life then and now. As Zoe’s birth was approaching, Pam was anxious to be on hand for her birth. A little snow storm caused her to leave home a little earlier than anticipated, but it was a good thing she did in the end. She was able to be there for the birth of our first grandchild.
With work and our own kids here, I stayed back home but was able to see photos as soon as she was born and to hear daily updates. I was able to share all this with our boys as it happened.
While excited to see their little niece as a baby, both boys are not shy about looking forward to the days when she’s walking and they won’t “break her,” as Beckett clumsily said in response to what he hopes doesn’t happen when he gets to hold her.
In the meantime, I remain glued to Instagram and Facebook for photos and updates on her first and second baths, her journey around her neighborhood, her disinterest these days in toys and her wacky sleep habits. She is a blessing (and I can tell she’s smart already). She is fortunate to have caring and attentive parents. That’s not a given in this world. She’s also got some grandparents who are thrilled about her arrival.
Over the last several months, I’ve been thinking about what I want the little darling to call me. Beckett thinks it should be “Gramps,” a nickname he gave me after watching me in an alumni basketball game.
A simple Google search provides a number of old-fashioned names as well as some obscure modern names, such as Ace, Boss, Duke, Boom-Pa, Boppa, G-Dawg, G-Pa, Granite, Papadaddy, King, Skipper, Rocky, Bumpy, Peepaw, PopZ, Grady, Grand-dude, Grandy and Captain.
I’m thinking “Pop Pop,” but the reality is I’m happy to be called anything.
Brotherly love is interesting to observe over time.
In the grand scheme, it seems Beckett will do anything for his special needs little brother, Carson. The empathy is there on an undeniable level, but their relationship is a rocky and fluid thing and has drastic swings at times. It’s like most brothers I presume.
Beckett’s concerns for his brother run deep. He wants to make sure he’s comfortable in all settings. He’s always the one to question us when he thinks Carson should not come with us to something, such as a Maroon 5 concert, a birthday party at a ninja center or to a PG-13 movie. He wonders aloud whether it’s the right call. He would prefer to avoid anything negative rather than hope for the best like we do. He doesn’t want to put the family in a bad spot.
Additionally, Beckett is the one who seems most worried about Carson in the future if he remains nonverbal. Pam and I take a day-to-day approach. While we plan for his future, we don’t fret today over tomorrow’s problems. There’s enough to deal with on a daily basis. It’s too worrisome to think that far down the road.
Beckett thinks he will be bullied by ignorant kids. Demonstrating how much time he is putting into these thoughts, he asked me the other night if he could react physically to a specific hypothetical if his brother was mistreated in some fashion. I said that should always be the last option. After he painted an even more troubling scenario, I said in that case to do whatever necessary to protect him.
These sorts of conversations always make me proud of Beckett because he feels an innate responsibility to protect Carson.
While that’s gratifying, I am reminded daily their relationship is fundamentally typical to that of most brothers. It’s competitive.
I walked out to a scene on our deck where we have a basketball hoop the other night that completely contradicted this conversation. Beckett was standing on top of Carson so he could dunk a basketball. Carson clearly did not like it. When I asked what was going on, Beckett said Carson pushed him from behind while playing one-on-one and in response Beckett took him down.
“Dad, Carson doesn’t learn with words. He learns through pain,” Beckett said.
Boys will be boys, I guess.