Ben: I Missed So Much

Ben talks about his regrets about not being around more for Marcus and why he's so excited about the newest Tankard addition.

Ben Tankard, Benji Tankard, Britney Tankard, Brooklyn Tankard, Cyrene Tankard, Diamond Tankard

I'm writing to you guys today with a heart full of gratitude to God and Marcus and Tish. I'm going to be a "Paw-Paw" (again!).

Brooklyn can tell you that I'm one of those grandpas that truly knows how to spoil a kid, which is what I have been doing with Diamond for 10 years. I believe grandchildren are God's gift to us parents for not killing our children. It's a second chance to get it right. Lord knows I did not get it right with Marcus in his early years. His Mom and I were a one-night stand, and he did not come into my life until he was eight years old. With me living in another state and pursuing a pro basketball career, then music, and with his mom suffering from drug dependency, Marcus ended up being raised by his grandmother. She did an awesome job pinch hitting and filling in the best way she could, but there is nothing that can replace a man having a strong presence in his son's life (and daughters'!). In my case, the child support was sent, but Marcus needed me to be there to develop his foundation in every way. I missed teaching him how to jumpstart a car with jumper cables and change the oil and tires. Yes, over the years he was able to spend summers and holidays with us, but that is not the same as those special moments you get when someone lives with you.

By no fault of his own, he was never around long enough to develop the big brother bond to Brook, Britney, and Benji, either because they did not live with me or they lived with their mother in another city. As you saw me mention in the show, Marcus came to live with us after high school when he attended a local university. Rightly so, he showed up with a chip on his shoulder. Frustration was there, because he felt behind the eight ball with his father. By this time, I had married Jewel, and Cyrene was the only child in the house and he was able to be big brother to her. Being around me full time was good, and that chip began to get smaller and smaller over time.


Eventually we sent him to bible school in Tulsa for a few years, and he did great, graduated with a degree in world missions, and immediatly took missionary assignments that would take him all over the world. I was very proud of his accomplishments but still felt a bit disconnected. After he got married, he settled in Missouri for another assignment. Something about him getting married changed him, and he began to open up more and show more love to me as his father. I would like to say I believe the heart of a man lives in his wife's hand, she can mold it. Tish encouraged Marcus to develop a stronger bond with me (she could relate to not having a relationship, because she has never met her Dad). I said on WWHL with Andy Cohen last week, "The man is the head and the woman is the neck, but it is the neck that turns the head." This is what happened with Tish turning Marcus' head toward his father.

After the Missouri assignment was completed, Marcus and Tish came home for the summer, and I could not be happier. Though I am sorry I missed out on that part of his life, I am super excited that we have been able to start fresh and create new memories now that he is home for a season with his beautiful wife. Learning that Tish was pregnant has added and extra layer of icing on this cake! Diamond was first my grandchild, and if I had know that grandkids were going to be this much fun, I would had them first! The double blessing here is I get to see Marcus happy with his own family and happy with me. This makes me happier than a witch in a broom factory.

Speaking of which, Cyrene showed up at Marcus' birthday party with a new "friend" looking rather happy. I think she is trying to "brighten up" the family. Though I always tease her about the male prospects that she brings around, I am actually at peace that she knows how to make good decisions. We have raised her in a very structured environment and with her getting ready to go off to college, I understand I that I have to take my hands off the handlebars in order for her to learn to ride life's bicycle on her own (though seeing how handsome her new friend is, I don't know if "ride" is the word I should be using...ha ha).

Back to Marcus...Jewel and I love all the kids equally and don't believe in "steps." We don't call each other stepdad and stepbrother and stepmom, ect. We are all just family. Jewel loves "my" kids just like I love "her" kid, Cyrene. Therefore, she is just as excited about the baby as I am. I would love for it to be a boy (since we already have a girl...Diamond), but we would be equally as thankful if it is a girl. Maybe we can get Marcus and Tish to stay home for good? There is room at the inn...LOL. Until next week...Be well! #Tank

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