Hello … Bonjour … Welcome … Bievenue
My name is Mark and I am the 61 year-old grandfather of Ava and Sophie, my two wonderful Montreal area granddaughters. My first insight and a first contribution that I’d like to make in response to my opening question of “How to be a pretty darn good grandfather?” is that pretty darn good grandfathers will always want to be current in the lives of their grandchildren and be demonstrably interested and empatheticly invested in caring that their grandchildren know that their grandfather knows that they know that you care…details to follow….
A Pa is born!
Assuming that you won’t mind, whenever we connect here on my website, you are likely to notice that I’ve referred to myself as “Pa”, a name to which I’ve grown quite attached and proud since Ava first gave to me (eight years ago by now; OMG!) while she was learning to speak and to identify the familiar people and things of her immediate and extended environments. Less than two years later her sister Sophie arrived and then, step by step and word by word, I’m so proud that the two of them have been comfortably referring to me as their Pa ever since.
My Goodness Gracious!
During one of their early overnight visits to our house with their Pa and Nan, I found myself playfully exclaiming at some type of bedtime silliness: “My goodness, my gracious!… What in the world have you two gotten yourselves into?” After the protesting/denying/giggling had subsided and toddler decorum was reestablished, I then asked which one of my beautiful granddaughters wanted to be known as being their grandfather’s “Goodness”? Because she was a year and a half older than her sister and developmentally ready to lay confidant claim to the correct answer to any easy question that came her way, Ava proudly responded that “yes”, she wanted to be the sister known as her grandfather’s Goodness….And so from that moment, Ava became and always will be her Pa’s Goodness…. Sophie, rather than sulkily behaving as if she had just somehow tragically lost out on a race that had begun before she got there, simply said “ok”. At bedtime when all of the end of the day/cuddle kissy/time for sleep energy was expended Sophie seemed genuinely pleased and proud to be reminded that earlier in the day, she had become and would forever be her Pa’s Gracious…
Ava is her family’s athlete! Among the skills she has always displayed and appears to eagerly enjoy demonstrating, Ava can; run, jump, climb, ride her bike, her skateboard, fall down and get up again, swim, dive and pitch and catch everything! During the summer, Ava plays soccer on her neighbourood mixed team, swims and dives at her community swimming club and during this current school term has participated in skiing classes and joined (and loves) taking weekly lessons on how to play basketball!
Although everyone in the family is genuinely happy to know that Ava seems to derive so much pleasure in all the physical aspects of her athletic pursuits, she can also be observed (and is so reported) to be easy to teach/coach/direct
and get along with her peers. Of course, once you start asking around, Ava’s father Ben and her maternal grandmother, Nanna, will both also claim that she was just like they were at her age and if you were at all interested (and they could find it), they could show you their pictures/trophies/medals attesting to their successes as being trees that Ava had so obviously not fallen far away from.
Sophie loves to sing and dance. She is quite naturally gifted musically with perfect vocal pitch and a very pleasant tone. She also has an innate feel for rhythm that naturally serves her well when learning to sing new songs or when challenged by dance movement during her Saturday morning ballet lessons. Sophie also takes active takes interest in and has access to musical instruments that their father has brought home from his work for the family’s use. Sophie has already demonstrated a playful and comfortable interest in strumming her ukulele, tinkering on the family piano or tapping away at the drum set in their basement. In the springtime, no extended visit with Sophie is likely to end without hearing or seeing a rehearsed version of her pre St. Patrick’s day Ceilidh song or dance.
Music comes naturally to many members of Sophie’s immediate and extended family. Both of her parents and several of her maternal and paternal grandparents along with aunts, uncles and cousins take an active interest in her developing talent/skill and progress in the performing arts. I’m quite sure that I’ve already got one of Sohie’s autographs around the house here somewhere.
My original intention was to host a website about my experience as a grandfather that I would call Chez Pa. Grandfathering is an activity that I enjoy and is of obvious interest to me and also represents and includes me in a specific demographic cohort whose membership I thought it might be fun to explore. Sharing details about the grandfathering experience including interests/activities/opinions and it’s highs and lows may be of interest to many other grandfathers out there that I already know or could or could get to know better via website membersip.
My father Peter, is Ava and Sophie’s great grandfather. Peter and his wife Beatrice (my mom) maintain an active and involved interest in the knowing of and contributing to the girl’s welbeing. Bea and Pete have 5 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. I appreciate and love them both immeasurably.
Harold is Ava and Sophie’s paternal grandfather. Harold and his wife Helen also maintain an active and supportive interest in how their son is doing in his busy life and in how they can directly contribute to their wonderful granddaughters’ nurturing and wellbeing. If my count is correct, they have 14 grandchildren all living in Montreal
It seems as if I’ve come to the last of my introductory musings on this my first post on my first website. l would like to end with providing a couple of context details that I’d be remis in not sharing at this early juncture of our website relationship…
Choosing the name Chez Pa for my website is a personal acknowledgment that while Mark Le Blanc is primarily an english speaking native Quebec resident who, although proud of his Quebec heritage, continues to struggle with being fully competent with all aspects of the french language. Having necessarily learned to effectively compensate for identified weaknesses. as required, I am also aware that Google translate will acceptably modify any written text for the benefit of the text’s author and potential readership. Tech support therefore will be deployed as required….
One of the other introductory insights I want to identify and highlight in response to the opening inquiry about “how to be a pretty darn good grandfather” is to remind grandfathers to make it their explicit business to be of active/loving and pretty darn good fathering support to the daughters or sons who have graced you with the filial relationships identified in your grandparenting. I am so proud to say that the relationship I have and maintain with my daughter Gwendolyn has always been and always will be a primary and defining feature of my entire life…
When You Love Them To Bits
I have wanted to use the phrase “when you love them to bits” somewhere on this website ever since I first entertained the notion that creating one was doable and that the personal sentiments expressed were real and had a chance to be of interest/affirmed and even reciprocated by those who were reading them or who were having them be read to. Please feel free to write with your feedback and provide any respectful commentary that communicates your experience as an appreciator of grandfathering….
Pa will will simply trust that, to the best of their ongoing ability, his Goodness and his Gracious will always make it their business to love him to bits too.