he keeps the light for me
safety deposited inside a microfold
hidden somewhere inside
those pretty hands
--Finney, "The Lightkeeper"
Is Nikky Finney's poem "The Lightkeeper" about her dad or someone else? Many people have different opinions on who her poem is about, but when I read it, I imagine the lightkeeper to be my grandfather, even though my family is your basic "Cleaver" family. My parents are still happily married after their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They both own their own successful businesses and have two children who are now in college. We also have the spoiled dog that everyone probably likes better than any other member of the family. Anyone observing my family would probably guess that my parents taught me everything that there is to know and that they shaped me into the person that I am today.
They would be wrong. My parents had to work long hours when I was little to make our family and left me under my grandparents care every day of the week. My grandfather was actually the person that shaped me into who I am. I now believe that grandparents often have a much larger impact on a child's life than parents could ever have. Parents today are having to work more and harder to be able to provide for their families. Children are often left at day care centers—or with grandparents. Over the past twenty years, increased attention has been given to the importance of grandparenthood (Chalfie 32). "Higher divorce rates and an increase in both parents working full time has caused more grandparents, and other relatives, to take over the primary care of the child" (Newman 201). This new found emphasis is the result of longer life spans: adults are li...
... middle of paper ...
...t I can still feel it now, even ten years after his death. All grandparents are not what my grandpa was, I know this. But, if they could be, or had the chance to be, what a wonderful thing that would be for every child to experience.All I hope is that one day my dad will be to my children what my grandpa was to me.
Chalfie, Denise. Going it Alone: A Closer Look at Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren Pamphlet. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Retired Persons, 1994.
Doucette-Dudman, David. Raising Our Children's Children. Minneapolis, MN: Fairview Press, 1996.
Finney, Nikky. Rice. Ontario, Canada: Sister Vision: Black Women and Women of Colour Press, 1995.
Kornhaber, Ann. Contemporary Grandparenting. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1996.
Newman, David. Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 1997.
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