My father-in-law jokes that his name is “Where’s Grandma?” When my kids hear the familiar shutting of the car door in the driveway, it doesn’t take but a few seconds for them to dash toward the window. 

“Grandma’s here! Grandmas’s here!”

And sure enough, grandma is hereall warm-hugging, cookie-smelling, happy-smiling bit of her. 

But she’s not alone. 

Behind her is the other half of grandmait’s grandpa in his ASICS sneakers and old triathlon T-shirt. 

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The times he enters the house first, the kids are quick to ask, “Where’s Grandma?” It’s not that they’re unhappy to see him. They’re just accustomed to seeing her first. So now it’s become a joke. One he offers up willingly as he sashays into the kitchen declaring, “Where’s Grandma is here!” 

The kids think he’s a hoot. We laugh and wink, a silent reminder that you’re loved too, Pop. 

But we all know deep down, he’s more than just Grandma’s shadow. 

He’s the guy who built cradles for his granddaughters’ baby dolls. The one who rigs up games and obstacle courses in the backyard. The man who sat on the floor rubbing his grandson’s back to help him fall asleep when bronchitis ravaged his little lungs. The one who shows up for 90-degree baseball games in heavy work clothes so he doesn’t miss the first pitch. 

He’s the master joke teller. And the best listener. He’s the garbage disposal for all things “green” or “too squishy.”

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He sings his grandchildren’s praises from the rooftops as loud as he snores next to them watching Toy Story.

So, Pop, if you think the kids only care about Grandma, you’re wrong. You don’t hear them ask, “Where’s Grandpa?” because you’re always there

You are seen. 

And that’s what makes a grandpa priceless. 

Jennifer Craven

Jen Craven writes about motherhood in all its complexities. She is also the author of the novels, "A Long Way From Blair Street," and "All That Shines and Whispers," which is set to publish in Februrary 2021. Jen's work has been featured in The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, Motherly, Her View From Home, Huffington Post, and more. Visit her at, or follow her on Instagram @jennifercravenauthor.