Saturday Story Time: Grampa Darrell

Saturday Story Time: Grampa Darrell

It was Isaac’s second Christmas but as he was born in October this was the first one of “importance” in the sense that he would know more of what was going on. We were living in the basement of my sisters home while Scott finished his Masters of Divinity. I had told my parents that we really did not want anything big. I was kind of going through a let’s try to keep it small and natural and wanted all his toys to be wood or have an educational purpose. I did not want anything big and plastic or with the name “Lil Tykes”. My dad smiled and nodded his head.

Christmas morning came and my son woke to find a large blue plastic “Lil Tykes” slide waiting for him. Isaac had learned to walk at nine months and was more active than I thought possible. His eyes just about popped out of his head and he squeeled with delight padding up the stairs in his sleeper pajamas and sliding down to the clapping of his proud grampa.

Dad, I said quietly, I thought we talked about no big plastic toys. He looked at me and said, “Well, it is not for you it is for MY grandson and I will get him what I damn well please!” I knew then that I was no longer the number one, two or three thing in his life, Grandchildren ruled the heart of this man and all I could do was stand back and try to hold on for the ride.

I am not sure what I was expecting he would be like as a grandfather. He had been a wonderful if somewhat distant father in his parenting as he was a total workaholic with many hours away from the family. It was amazing to see him down on the floor with his young grandkids and so proud of them I thought his head my burst at every little thing they did. He adored them and they in turn thought Grampa Darrell was the best thing next to ice cream.

When we adopted John and Christian his love and pride was no different. There was never a question of equality or bias. It will always be one of the greatest gifts he has ever given me. He supported the decision, invested in quest to bring them home from Africa and has not wavered in his support and unconditional love for any of his grandchildren.

He is somewhat of a legend in Bend sport circles as he has made it to more games as a grandparent than even some parents, and he lives a 6 hour drive by car away. This is the third year that he and my mom will rent a small studio for the months of January and February in Bend, so he can get to as many basketball games as possible. He was score keeper for Isaac’s freshman year and his financial support is the reason my kids have gone to camps, clinics, tournaments and competitions all over the western united states.

My dad is far from perfect, he is loud and obnoxious. He is very hard on all the kids as he believes in their potential so much. He works hard to keep his mouth shut but can be known to storm off if the officials, coaches, grandkids or other players are not acting the way he believes they should. I can not sit by him during games as we are both very passionate, loud and intense. He has little room for undisciplined players or lazy play and can be politically incorrect to be around when in company of other kids parents. At times through the years the grandkids have felt pressure to perform and felt incapable of living up to his very high expectations.

Still, there is no one they want more at their games. They have worked through the worst of those glitches and are totally spoiled with how often he manages to show up. Last night was the first home basketball game of the season, he had just gotten in from a month-long trip the night before. He and my mom still drove over, he got to see two of his grandsons play in their first official high school game together. Today Christian got to play in his first varsity game as a freshman. He sunk a three and looked right at grampa Darrell with one of the brightest smiles you will ever see. Grampa is now on his way back to Washington, but before he left he said “See ya Tuesday at the games, I‘ll just come for one night.” Thanks dad, it has been, and continues to be an awesome ride.


3 Comments so far
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My dad wanted me to mention that I yell louder than him! It was confirmed by my husband so it must be true

Comment by Kari

As a basketball mom myself, this one made me teary. (Annie had the Lil Tikes slide too : )

Comment by Anonymous

Oh Barb, you are the best!

Comment by Kari

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