Grandparents Going Gaga Over Keiki

Grandpa Al Joaquin with Kaimana and Hana. PHOTO FROM TANNYA JOAQUIN

Grandpa Al Joaquin with Kaimana and Hana. PHOTO FROM TANNYA JOAQUIN

Moving from protecting President Obama to diaper duty may sound like a serious demotion, but I don’t think my father-in-law Al Joaquin would see it that way.

He’s one of a growing number of grandparents who enjoy life after work, spending quality time with their grandkids.

As Sept. 7 was National Grandparents’ Day, it’s only appropriate that I dedicate this week’s column to grandmothers and grandfathers everywhere.

Either more people are becoming grandparents, I’ve just noticed it, or sharing on social media keeps it top of mind. Well-known local people who recently have become grandparents include Kitty Lagareta, Marivic Dar, Duke Aiona and even Mid-Week editor Don Chapman. All of them will tell you how much it has changed them, and all of their grand-kids will benefit from that bond.

The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is special. Our culture encourages this connection, and kupuna and keiki get so much out of it.

It’s something I truly appreciate. When I was growing up, my only living grandparent was my mom’s mom.

She only spoke Korean, and unfortunately, I never learned. Still, love needs no translation and, boy, did she make the best Korean food! I regret not getting to know her in the same way my kids know their grandparents.

My children are blessed to have grandparents on both sides. My parents live in Las Vegas, but my in-laws are 10 minutes away. They pick up the children twice a week from school and have a routine. They always do something active, such as bike riding or playing on the beach, have a hearty dinner, special dessert and then get dropped off at home.

My son and daughter look forward to their time with Grandma and Grandpa Joaquin, and it gives Mom and Dad a bit of a break. Of course, Grandpa and Grandma Joaquin love it, too.

As Editor Chapman, a first-time grandpa, puts it, “Grandparenting is the greatest — all the fun, none of the ultimate responsibility. I was at their house the other day, holding the baby, when I felt a rumbling in her diaper. ‘OK, Grandpa has to go now,’ I said …”

Speaking of “going,” I’ll never forget the first time Grandpa Joaquin watched our daughter (18 months and still in diapers at the time) solo. When I picked her up, something seemed “off” with her diaper, so I investigated. It was on backward.

I just laughed it off and never mentioned it, until now. It was too cute to leave out.

Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Joaquin for being amazing grandparents to Kaimana and Hana. We are all lucky to have you in our lives!