I fucking love guacamole.
If I'm at a party and someone's got some good guacamole, I will just sit there by myself and dip chip after chip into the bowl. If nobody's watching me, I'll scoop the guacamole onto a chip and just lick it off. I won't even eat the chip. I'll just keep dipping the same chip into the guacamole repeatedly. (Totally gross, right? I'm like a double dipper to the nth degree.)
Because let's face it. Chips are really just vehicles for your guacamole. They're dry, salty and taste like crap on their own. If guacamole didn't exist, I'd never eat another chip in my entire life.
Why am I talking about this? Because in the familial relationship metaphor of inter-generational dynamics, BossLady and I are the chips and Peanut is the guacamole.
Whenever we're around my parents, BossLady and I might as well not even exist. The Peanut is my parent's first grandchild and to say that they are "fawning" is to insult fawns everywhere. Peanut is their life. Their weekly schedules, their vacations, their daily conversations...all of it is at the mercy of a little 20-month-old girl.
Yesterday, we had a family dinner with my folks and MetroBro to celebrate BossLady's birthday. Though my wife's birthday is always cause for celebration, I think we've officially reached the point where my parents would celebrate Idi Amin's birthday if it meant they got to spend time with their granddaughter.
At one point, I looked up to see my father physically wrest Peanut away from the BossLady so he could carry her. Didn't even say a word. He just grabbed her out of BossLady's arms like the Lindbergh baby. I know he didn't mean to be rude. He just loves carrying the Peanut around. If it were up to him, the Peanut's feet would never touch the ground and the two of them would spend their days reenacting the marsupial relationship between Angelina Jolie and young Maddox.
During dinner, as usual, all attention is focused on the Peanut. Sometimes when I'm speaking, I can actually see my mother's mind working as she pretends to listen to what I'm saying. Although she may be looking directly at me, I know that, in her head, she's thinking, "I love my granddaughter so much. I wonder what she's doing this very nanosecond. She's so cute! Where is she? What is my son saying? When will he be done talking? I just want to see my granddaughter. I love her so much."
Like many people, I've found that my parents are far better grandparents than they were parents. Particularly in the case of my father, he seems to be atoning for various past sins and transgressions. He's already much more involved in the Peanut's life than he ever really was in my own. It's almost as if he's getting a fresh start.
Having been severely abused by his own parents, my father ran away from home at a very young age. He never had parenting role models to admire or emulate. Because he was abused by his family, he's always had problems dealing with emotional issues and has a very dysfunctional way of dealing with expressions of love and affection. My relationship with him when I was younger was always tumultuous and conflicted. Parenting was NOT a subject that I imagine he spent much time thinking about.
In several ways, having the Peanut has changed the dynamics of the relationship between me and my parents. Like everything in my life now, my primary concern is my daughter's well-being. And because I never had any grandparents of my own, I'm glad that the Peanut does. I'm glad that she gets all this doting attention. I love the fact that she has so many people who love her as much as I do.
So if it means biting my tongue as my father grabs the Peanut from me? Or sitting silently as my mother ignores me? Or going to family reunions and feeling like the Invisible Man?
Well, that's just fine for me. I'll just be here in the corner eating some guacamole with my fingers.