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The favorite grandparent - UpstateToday.com

The favorite grandparent

Posted on May 23, 2018

While visiting nine of my 10 grandchildren over the weekend in Georgia, I was indeed the favorite grandparent.

At least for two days.

Norman Cannada, who made the switch from Journal news editor to inner-city pastor in December 2014, has returned to The Journal.

Michelle wasn’t feeling well enough to make the three-hour trip, and none of the other grandparents were there Saturday for an afternoon of playing around the house and then going to watch my nearly 10-year-old grandson Drake perform in his first dance recital.

You may say I was the favorite grandparent because I was the only grandparent there. That may be true, but we cannot prove that I wouldn’t have been the favorite anyway.

But, even if it were true, I was sitting all alone at the cool adults’ table getting plenty of attention from all the kids for two days.

I’ll take it.

Drake immediately took me to his bedroom, closed the door to keep his brothers and sisters out, and told me the plan for the recital. He would be performing in two of the 20 dances. I was thrilled. That meant I only had to video two of the 20 performances that night for Michelle.

We spent much of the afternoon wrestling, playing and watching television — most of the time with four kids in my lap or hanging on me. I was happy to be the center of attention. I was the favorite grandparent. I even played with some dolls that were challenging superheroes. Having raised two boys, I spent a lot more time playing baseball and basketball with kids in the backyard and no time playing with dolls — until I had grandchildren.

But on this day, I played with dolls. And I am a confident enough man to admit that. Besides, it made all the grandkids smile.

And I was their favorite.

Even Mikayla liked me on Saturday afternoon. A 2-year-old, Mikayla is not as quick to warm up to you as her twin brother, J.P., who says “Hi!” when you enter the house. Mikayla checks you out from afar for a while. She won’t even give me a high-five when I first get there. But over time, she begins to see that this old man must not be as scary as he looks since all her brothers and sisters seem to like me. By late afternoon, she was jockeying for position in my lap with everyone else.

I went with three of the older children to see Drake in his dance recital. Drake loves art and even has a shirt that says, “Art is my favorite sport.” I noticed in a play he was in that he seemed to be talented in dance, and told his parents he would probably benefit from some dance lessons.

And the rest is history.

I was a proud grandfather as I watched Drake perform a dance from Mexico and one from Austria during the night. I had promised him more than a month earlier that I would be there cheering him on and I had kept my word.

But mostly I enjoyed the show. As a completely unbiased grandfather, I can tell you Drake did the best of any performer in the 20 dance numbers.

He certainly was my favorite.

And for a couple of days last weekend I was his favorite — and the favorite of his brothers and sisters as well.

That makes any three-hour trip worthwhile.

Norm Cannada moved back to Oconee County after spending nearly three years in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is enjoying the journey adjusting back to small-town life and learning he doesn’t know everything as he grows older with his wife, Michelle.