On Thanksgiving , we travel to Indianapolis to be with our children and grandchildren. As persnickety old folks, we prefer to stay in a nearby motel for the weekend. Especially since they have a heated swimming pool for much needed exercise after a big Turkey dinner. It’s a popular place, attracting many families who enjoy the pool. But this weekend, I witnessed an accident that made me wonder: Should you trust Grandpa with the kids?
I had been splashing around in the pool for awhile when the door opened and two men walked inside with two young boys—maybe 4 or 5, tops. The younger man was in street clothes, but the older gentleman—obviously the grandpa– was wearing a swim suit. The two toddlers had water wings, and were excited to be going for a swim.
Their Dad settled down in a chair with his cell phone, clearly relieved to have Grandpa jump in to play with the boys. They were a little timid at first. They thought the water was cold. But Grandpa got them to water’s edge and had them plunge in full force—big splashes everywhere. They were playing pretty rough. Grandpa encouraged them to go back again and again to dive in head first. At that point, I knew if I was their mom, I would have asked all of them to settle down a bit.
Then, they ducked under the window that led to the outside half of the pool. The air temperature was around 41 degrees. Again, this mom would have said no, please don’t take them outside. But the Dad was more interested in his phone. All of a sudden, I heard a scream, the outside door opened, and the Grandpa came in holding a screaming child. The Dad jumped up and got a towel for the child’s head. Soon, the towel was blood red as the little boy continued to scream.
Pandemonium everywhere. Bystanders rushing to help, Dad running to find the Mom, Grandpa holding the kid while he continued to shake. Other little boy watching in bewilderment. Mom rushes in, grabs child, holding blood soaked towel to his head, and they all head to the hospital. Apparently the child had somehow busted open the back of his head.
A perfectly lovely family holiday ruined by a careless Grandpa. It reminded me of the tragedy on the cruise ship last month where the Grandpa accidentally dropped his granddaughter through an open window, and she plunged to her death.
Grandpas mean well. They love their Grandkids dearly. But they may not be competent caregivers. They could have a medical condition that clouds their judgement. Maybe they’re on a lot of meds. Whatever the reason, it makes you wonder: should you trust grandpa with the kids?