Not entirely. But let me explain.
Like most kids, or several kids, I grew up with 4 grandparents. 2 on each side. My dad’s parents were sweet people (although, arguably, my grandfather on that side was better at being a grandfather than a dad). My dad’s mom was rather frail and ill, so we usually were pretty quiet and reserved. We read, a lot. Mimi had mostly romance novels, so by the time I was 13 I knew all the ‘romantic’ ways sex could happen…but nothing that was actually true. My grandfather was mostly in his workshop, where he watched tv and made stuff. So I didn’t know them very well. We spend 3 days to a week there every summer (without my dad, who was working). My mo would pack us up in the car or on a plane and we would fly from Tampa to Houston, get picked up in Houston and drive to Tyler. A week later, we would board a plane in Houston and either make a hop in Dallas or head straight out to Midland/Odessa where my mom’s dad would pick us up and drive us to Rankin.
My mom’s dad was…legendary. To me, anyway. He was a cowboy. A REAL cowboy. He didn’t wear cowboy hats for fashion or cowboy boots to be ironic. He drove cattle and owned a ranch and smoked filterless cigarettes. He could ride a horse backward, I would imagine, and he called “lunch” the meal you packed in a bag and hung off the horn of your saddle.
He was 80 when I was born. He was 40 when my mom was born and she was 40 when I was born…you get the drift. He was OLD when I was able to remember him. My grandmother had already had a stroke and was living in a facility, so my memories of her are rare and fleeting. But I remember my grandaddy. Oh, I do remember him. I remember his smell, the way he walked, his laugh. He died at a good age, 93, and I was about to turn 13. I have lived longer without my grandfather than I have lived with him.
I was at the grocery store, and I saw this grandfather and his 3 grandkids. I was irrationally jealous. Part of me is angry that my parents had me so late. Angry that my sisters and brother remember him (remember ALL of them) better than I ever will. Angry that my relationship with him was so short and, now, mostly in my head. Would I trade it for the world? No. But he never saw me go to high school, never saw me go to college, never met my fiance. For me, there is a huge hole in my life where he should be.
So I balk at having kids knowing my own parents are not young. It is a little irrational, yes, but my heart breaks every time I think of him and I don’t want to do that to them. As I once told my mom, “You’ll be dead, you won’t miss my kids. But my kids will miss you, and that hole is huge and sometimes very hard to bear”.
I always tell my parents, when a pet dies, that having had the pet is better than having no pet at all. I DO believe this, but the days when I grieve, so acutely, for a man whom I last saw 20 years ago, I don’t believe it. Yes, OF COURSE, I am better for knowing him. My memories of him are fun and sweet, but…like I said, the pain of his passing (which, let’s be realistic, at 93 is fine)…sometimes the pain of his passing is too much to bear to pass that on to my own.