After we celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary Jan and I went to Texas to spend the week with our two grandsons. Bobby, the older of the two, is now six and had just graduated from kindergarten. Ryan is two and out of daycare for June and July.
That means that Jan and I had them all day every day for five days. What a week—and I’m still exhausted! Even though I need my right knee and my left hip replaced, I’d do it again without hesitation. As a matter of fact, we will be doing it again later this month. The only difference will be I will have them without Jan for two and a half days. (Pray for me!)
One of the tee shirts I wore while there was a gift from Audrey (my daughter) a few years ago soon after Bobby was born. While walking in the park I asked Bobby if he could read it and concentrating on the front of my shirt he read, “Great DADS get promoted [I had to give a little help with this word] to GRANDPA.” And he flashed his wily smile.
I love the shirt and what it says, but I wouldn’t say I was or am a great dad (perhaps a good dad). I realize not every man wants to or can be a dad, but being a dad is one of life’s greatest privileges. It is also one of life’s greatest responsibilities. And it is a privilege and responsibility that never ends.
Often being a dad does provide the opportunity of becoming a grandpa. And if my daughter thinks that is a promotion I am thrilled. Promotion or not, being a grandpa, like being a dad, is a privilege and a responsibility. But most of the time being a grandpa is higher on the privilege side and lower on the responsibility side than being a dad.
Last week I was reminded of all of this and more. One thing that disappointed me was the realization of my lack of patience. Two year olds and six year olds need to be permitted to be six years old and two years old. But there were other times when I was at the other extreme being too lenient and permissive. That I believe is part of the privilege of being a grandpa.
Another thing I realized last week is that I am the grandpa and not a parent. There is a difference. While I have some responsibility of oversight and care when with them, that is not my primary role—I am a backup. And that again is part of the privilege and responsibility of being a grandpa.
But there are a few things that I’m not a backup for in being a grandpa. I’m not a backup in terms of loving those boys, caring about those boys, encouraging those boys, modeling the Lord to those boys, praying for those boys, and worrying about them. I know I’m not supposed to worry—I wasn’t and am not supposed to worry about my own children, but I did and do—and I do and will worry about my grandsons.
In case it isn’t obvious, I love being a grandpa–it’s a promotion!
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Photo courtesy of their grandmother—my wife!