By ROBERT LACOSTA
Muffin-Party Fridays, witnessing ballerina spins in the living room with floral dresses and snuggle times with four beautiful girls have reduced six-foot-three Frank Downey to the size of a valentine whenever he’s with granddaughters Morgan, Ellie, Alyssa and Kyla.
“Every morning I see them,” he explains, “I let them know how pretty they look and I’m always telling them that I love them which is often reflected back to me with those same words – sometimes out of nowhere.
“I’ve become skilled at doing pigtails and ponytails and helping them look like the princesses they are,” he says.
With all of this going on, Downey still has to tend to his house and other property and regularly finds himself on his tractor in order to stay on top of his daily chores when he’s not helping his daughters with any number of home projects or repurposing tricyles and bicycles.
But when he comes in from wrestling with a piece of equipment out in the yard, those same big hands easily transition to holding a delicate plastic cup for an impromptu tea party.
From excursions to Amsterdam’s Animal Land or The Great Escape or to the big annual trip to Disney World, Downey makes sure there’s always something just around the corner and sometimes that is literal; as in an ice cream stand visit or neighborhood biking or rides to ballet or swim lessons.
With all of this activity, you might think that Frank would be the one who needs the nap. But it’s just the opposite and that’s the gold mine of grandparenting.
“All four have slept on my lap and there’s nothing like it,” he says through the satisfied smile of the quintessential “Grampy.”
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