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Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett writes: "Now that's a MODISETT!" my father-in-law says to my 11-month-old towhead every time he visits.


He says it in front of my 5-year-old; my dark-haired, dark-eyed beautiful boy who always smiles like he has a secret.

"Gabriel's a Modisett too!" I add immediately, even if Gabriel's not in earshot. The idea that he might feel less loved by his grandfather kills me.

"He's just a Modisett with a delicious Klein coating." I add, going for an M&M reference that eludes my father-in-law.

"Oh, sure," he says, gazing deeply into the baby's eyes. The guy cannot stop holding and staring at this child.

My father-in-law is the only living grandfather, and oh, how I wished he would have paid a third of the attention to Gabriel that he does to Gideon. My husband and I wrote off his lack of interest to the fact that he was not a "baby" person.

Turns out he is a baby person, if the baby looks just like him. Which Gideon does. Eerily so. Maybe he likes being close to him so much because it connects him to his past; it's a baby him. I don't know.

I only know it makes me want to protect Gabriel from not feeling special. But my mother picks up the slack there. Just ask my sister. Grandma has no problem going on and on in front of her, "Gabriel is so smart. Gabriel is especially handsome ... Gabriel blah blah blah."

The lack of preciousness in the words and actions of grandparents can be refreshing, but in the case of our children, it can also sometimes come with the sharp sting of a slap in the face.

Dani Klein Modisett is the mom of two boys, and the creator/producer of Afterbirth...Stories You Won't Read in Parents Magazine.

next: Dad's Secret ... Underneath
1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Suzanne June 23, 2008, 1:23 PM

I lived this situation. I am the fourth grandchild on my mother’s side and everyone knew that my grandmother loved my cousin Karen, the first born grandchild best. Karen knew it too, and while she acted like it was no big deal she gave the eulogy at our grandmother’s funeral and had the nerve to point out that everyone knew my grandmother loved her best! That still burns me. Grandparents may love one grandchild better than the others for any number of reasons (first born, looks like them or sounds like them, etc.) but they should make a super human effort to make sure the rest of the grandchildren never know. It is total crap to favor one grandchild over another and if my mom or mother-in-law ever did that with one of my daughters (my older one is first born on both sides) I wouldn’t tolerate it. Not for my younger daughter or my nieces or my nephew. That would not be fair to any of them.

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