The kids moved away and I accepted. Different world now. Greener pastures for them.  Not once did I think it through: that I’d be a part-time grandpa.

No one’s fault, of course. Just the way it is. I see them thrice a year. Birthdays, holidays that fall on weekends…sort of like the new millennium’s version of the old Bob Hope NBC specials. You know:  not a regular weekly series— not something they can count on.  No, I’m more like a pop-up video; I’m there, then I’m gone.

I wondered, one night: do they know me at all? Do they see me as a cartoon or have a sense of my character. And so I wrote.

Dear Eli, Hailey, Lucy, Matthew and Max,

Some of you I know better than others. Some of you I’ll know better in time. Some of you were told I died in Vietnam.

It matters not.

What does matter is that, since I’ll never get you all in one room at once, I need for you to know my insides — stuff your parents won’t share.

Oh, they’ll state the accepted facts, I’m sure. You know: generic stats to gloss me over…

Like that your Grandpa Bruce was born in Cleveland and that he lived, loved and bled it. And they’ll mention that I met your grandmother at Ohio State, that she made me go to law school, and that we had three kids, got divorced after twenty-some years—and they may even tell you that back in the day my ex derisively called me “Mr. Fun.” (It’s true). Heck, if you get ‘em in a mood to talk you might even hear things like I was smart, overweight, polite, prone to be naïve, overly sensitive, perhaps trusted the wrong people, and was both insecure and confident. (Also true).

Let me, though, share with you my insides: the thoughts and matters I relied on… the tenets that, whether accurate or not, were MY TRUTHS and beliefs… things your parents may not have bought into, didn’t wish to pass down, but that you need to hear….

The things that made me ME. (And I am part of you)!

Know me, children, and know what made me tick—

Laugh if you want. Roll eyes if you wish. But this is me kids, from my moral compass to my mishegos.


—- In family, loyalty, love and our country.

I believe in running on first down in football, hitting behind the runner in baseball, and puhleeeze, don’t get me started on the “Designated Hitter” rule!

And I love playing cards. In poker, don’t call if you can’t take the raise. In gin, get on the board first, under the count next, and always cut the deck. And NEVER, in hearts, pass the queen without protection. Aside to Max and Eli: your mother’s wrong; you SHOULD count the cards.

I believe in multi-tasking. I brush teeth in the shower, ‘lectric shave as I drive, love to read when I eat.

I believe it’s ok to be politically incorrect. If something’s funny, it’s funny. It’s all right, for example, to note that Italians are capable of acting Jewish and Jews act quite Italian—but that Protestants can’t fake either. Tell me I’m wrong.

And it’s ok to do what you want to do as long as you don’t upset others. I sleep with the tv on, for one thing. And another: I’d rather watch the same great movie three times than see three different good movies once.

I believe in being real. Each of you: be comfortable in your own skin. Like, hey! I’m not embarrassed to tell you I believe in the Bible tales. Did the Red Sea part? I don’t know. Did Cain slay Abel. I’m not sure. But I believe…and you should.

I believe in respecting others, but being me. F’em if they don’t like your style. Be kind but be real.

We all stumble.  Just stumble with dignity.

I believe what other people think of you is none of your business.

I believe in listening with my eyes.

And I believe you can tell how a man will treat a woman by the way he treats his mother.

Respect others, kids, but be yourselves. And don’t forget where you came from. Do you really think Oprah would crusade against texting in a car if she didn’t have a driver?

I believe the whole world is anti-Semitic primarily because they truly fear we are the Chosen people. And that’s ok, because there IS a God; he did choose us; and Yes, he does look like George Burns.

I believe laughter is the best medicine, crying’s sometimes called for and waiting for the magic is mandatory.  There has to be magic,kids. There has to be.

Oh, and I believe the good guys win in the end. Always. And I know your parents, kids, so you’re all good guys. And I love each of you.

See you soon (I’d like to believe),

Grandpa Bruce

4 Responses to “I BELIEVE”

  1. alan wieder says:

    I believe what other people think of you is none of your business.

    One of the greatest lines of all times.

  2. Up From Dysfunction says:

    Thanks. Heard it maybe ten years ago (in a coffee house). bb

  3. Stacy says:

    Funny, I think Lucy would be devastated to hear you call yourself part time. Sad.

  4. Up From Dysfunction says:

    Perception, after all, is reality. I feel part-time because I can’t watch her brush her teeth at night. I feel part-time because if she scrapes her knee falling off a tricycle I’ll only kiss it on FaceTime. What is full-time…is the love of a grandparent (which crosses miles).

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