Somewhere between Montgomery and Atlanta it hit. It was like a wave, but not one that I did not see coming. In between calls, and catching up on podcasts and prayers, in the midst of thinking about the five manuscripts due the next two weeks, my sermon for Sunday and various programs coming up at Spring Meadows something ticked in my brain.
I’m going to be a grandfather!
Yeah, I know I look too young to be a granddad...but feel free to tell me that anyway! :)
Little Lucas Austin is due any day now. Yeah, I know I’ve know it for eight months now. We found out in early November. I’m sure I’ve had a hundred people ask me how I feel about becoming a granddad. My standard answer has been, I can’t wait. There has not been a second I’ve thought about it meaning that I’m getting older or that I could or should be anything but pumped up about this “next new” in my life.
But then it hit me as a reality. There's a difference between knowing and "knowing!" I’m going to be a granddad. I’m becoming Paw-Paw. The next thought has haunted me for the last three days. How do you be a good granddad? Just as with parenting it is “on the job” training. I really never had a grandparents. Mom’s dad died when she was a child and her mom died before I was a year old. Dad’s dad died in 1966 before I was 4 and his mom died in 1969, I was not yet 7.
So I’ve never really known what a granddad is supposod to do. And my life is so crazy that I fear I may not be up to this job that I didn’t fill out an application for and haven’t yet seen a contract for or a list of expectations.
I’ve had some thoughts. Let me know if I’m on the right tract and help me out some:
1. Love! I won’t be a dithering old granddad with white hair who sits on his porch just hoping his grandkids will drop by - at least not at first. But in the good granddads I’ve observed they seem to be full of love and pride about their grandkids. I look forward to loving Lucas. I know I already love his parents - and trust them.
2. Have fun with them! I’ve seen a couple of situations lately and thought - yup, that’s a granddad thing. I hope to wrestle with them in the floor, enjoy a game of pitch, enjoy what they enjoy and introduce them and take them to some stuff that they will never forget.
3. Take them to buy a doughnut! OK, I said I really never had grandparents but in the flickering memories of my mind is an old white pickup truck and a Saturday morning riding with my dad’s dad to get some doughnuts. That’s really all I remember about him, but I do remember that. So, there are probably some doughnuts in Lucas’ future.
4. Listen! I look forward to listening to Lucas’ “little problems” - little to me but the things that are huge to him. I hope I’ll have insight to offer him that when he’s 50 he will look back and say, “I remember something my granddad told me when I was 10...it’s stayed with me all these years.” My first thought is really about time. Of course I preach here Sunday and then head to Kentucky to be with our kids at Spring Meadows camp, I'm also supposed to speak in Tennessee two other times and in Florida this week. Next week has me here, then in Alabama and then in South Carolina. Now, when's this little guy coming. Wonder if Philip and Laura would let him go to South Carolina with me at one week old? I do know this, I will have a responsibility to figure out time with him.
5. Be an example! I know I will never be the example I want to be for with each mistake I make I begin anew (in a sense) banking the stock of “example and trust.” But I do not want to be that granddad who ended his marriage about 25-30 years and pushed the people he loved out of his life. As Melanie and I enter our fourth decade as husband and wife. I want my grandkids to see in us the virtue, peace and joy of a life well lived. I want to be like my father - and like my Father - to him.
I’ve thought all of this in terms of Lucas but I pray he will only be the first of several special children in our future.
I'm going to be a grandfathers and I want to be a good one. I'm gonna be a granddad and I can hardly wait!