The ability for us to have meaningful grandfather-experiences depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is whether the grandfathers are still living. Often children live great distances from their grandfathers and although they may have the occasional opportunities to bond during holidays and family reunions, these opportunities do not allow sufficient time to establish lasting bonds with their grandparents.
This was largely the case for my children. Both Robyn and Brian were born in Victoria, BC which is about an hours drive from Nanaimo, BC where their mother's parents lived. However when Robyn was only 18 months old and Brian was a newborn we moved across country to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1983. Although this was closer to my parents who lived in Owen Sound, Ontario, it was still over 2000 kms away which prevented the kids from forming lasting relationships with their paternal grandparents.
In 1986 we moved
to Ottawa which made it possible to visit my parents during holidays
and special occasions. I recall on one of those occasions when
Brian was about 6 my father attempted to share his love of
woodworking with his grandson. They both went off to his workshop
where we anticipated Brian would build something interesting.
About 2 hours later they emerged with my father holding a wooden
Christmas tree saying: "Look what Brian made". After
which Brian immediately complained; "I only got to paint it"
Understanding how he felt, since I had many similar experiences
when I was young, I sympathetically responded; "You got to do
more than I did when I was your age."
Fortunately we lived in Victoria for sixteen years so they got to spend most of their developing years, from 7-8 to their early 20s with their grandfather in their lives. As well their grandfather got to see them develop from small children into young adults which I know was something he very much enjoyed. Unfortunately for me I would have to live until my mid-nineties in order to replicate this grandfather experience enjoyed by Stanley Hawkes. And if I do manage to out live my ancestors I'm not sure I would be nimble enough to help my grandson change the oil in his first car at 87.