The Times West Virginian

April 30, 2013

Having grandkids is a blessing for Kathy Eakle

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — “Let me tell you about my grandchildren.”

This familiar grandparent brag is nothing new to Kathy Eakle.

“My grandparents had this on their license plate when I was growing up,” she said.

She never really understood what it meant until the magic day when her first grandchild was born.

“Then I totally got it,” she said. “What a blessing my grandchildren are to me!”

She and husband “Grandpap Tim” have four sons, whom they love with all their hearts.

“I never thought anything could compare,” she said. “But then came grandchildren! Two beautiful girls and two very active and adorable boys ... just like their dads.

“I waited quite a few years for my ‘girls’ ... and oh, my, were they worth the wait!”

So let her tell you about her grandchildren.

First, there’s 10-year-old Abbie Leighann, the oldest, and “such a sweetie.”

At first she wasn’t sure how to handle a granddaughter.

“All I did was boy stuff. But she’s the apple of my eye. She’s my shopping buddy. Sometimes we even let her mother, Amber, tag along.”

Abbie is a basketball player and Girl Scout, belongs to her church youth group and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She also likes to ride four-wheelers with her uncles.

“She’s not spoiled at all,” Eakle said with a chuckle. “This ‘Grammy’ could not be any more proud!”

Although Abbie lives in Davis, Eakle makes it to as many of her events as possible, knowing how important it is for Abbie to know her hard work is supported.

“I would not miss these memories for anything in the world,” Eakle said.

Next is almost-3-year-old Logan Wayne, Abbie’s younger brother.

“Can you say ‘active’? He never stops until he drops. He’s been running for two years!”

If it’s a sport, Logan does it. No surprise — his dad Shane coaches girls’ track, and is assistant basketball and assistant football coach at Tucker County High.

Practically born with a football in his hand, the little guy is a big Steelers fan. Some of his first words were “Go Steelers,” Eakle said.

He also loves visiting his Grammy and Pap, and loves to catch “craw crabs” in the creek with Grammy.

Next is the newest member of that family, little Taylor Maez, just 7 weeks old.

“What a beauty. Her smile just melts my heart,” Grammy Eakle said. “I try to hold and cuddle her as much as I can because they grow up so fast. Logan says he can’t wait to buy her football shoes so he can tackle her. Oh, my, is she in for a ride! But I’m sure Abbie will protect her and be a perfect role model.”

Last but not least is 9-month-old Easton James, the second grandson, with the “biggest blue eyes and smile that just lights up any room.”

“Can you say ‘precious’? Of course, he’s just a little bit ornery ... is very active and does not like to nap. He just goes until he falls over! He’s got his Grammy wrapped around his little finger,” Eakle said.

Even with three of her sons out of the house, there’s no way she has Empty Nest Syndrome, she said.

“Not a chance with all these wonderful grandkids. It’s just another chapter in our lives. We’re so proud of each of them and their parents.”

Each grandchild is a unique individual.

“It’s amazing how we love them to death. I am totally blessed.”

Some women cringe at the word “grandmother.” Not Kathy Eakle.

“I was so excited. I am definitely old enough to be a grandmother. I was old enough 20 years ago,” she said with a laugh.

“Age never, ever even entered my mind. I was ecstatic. And I was just as excited with every one of them. Each is like the first one all over again ... a totally new experience. I am absolutely thrilled to death.”

They were told about the impending birth of little Easton in a unique way.

“Abbie had a T-shirt that said, ‘I’m the big sister.’ Logan had one that said, ‘I’m the big brother.’ I said there was a mistake. My husband said, ‘Do you not get this?’ It took forever to register.”                                                                                                                                                     

There are so many “best things” about being a grandmother, she said.

“You get to spoil them and do for them like you wanted to do for your kids but were too busy being a good mom. You’ve already been through that ‘mom thing.’

“I have more patience as a grandmother. When your kids are young and you’re trying to raise them, you want them to be perfect. And then they grow up and you didn’t get to enjoy them.

“Now I can enjoy my grandkids.”

And spoil and dote on them (like making sure they can go on vacation with you and buying a new car because it has a drop-down video screen to keep the grands occupied), but not so much that they won’t listen to their parents, she said.

“I find myself with everything I do, asking if the grandkids would like this,” she said.

Besides Shane in Davis, son Caleb lives on Grassy Run Road, J.D. in Winfield and Zachary still at home.

“We are so blessed to be so close and able to do things together,” she said.

“I just love being a grandmother. If I could have done this first and then had my kids ...,” she said with a laugh.

“They keep us hopping, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Did I mention I was blessed?”

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.