The weird and wonderful journey of becoming a grandparent

Yesterday at 2:18 AM, Susan's and my first grandchild was born. Our daughter Lauren gave birth to baby Paxton (who is 8 lb 6 oz and 21" long). I won't get into the story about labor -- although at 5 hours, it is one of the quickest I have ever heard of, especially for a first child. I want to talk about how it feels to become a grandparent. It has been a strange pathway of emotions that I'm sure a lot of grandparents go through.

Reaction 1: "I don't want this."
My initial reaction to becoming a grandparent was resistance. Frankly, I wasn't happy about it. I thought, "Can't this wait a few more years?" It was partly about Lauren and her husband Ryan -- they are students, and this isn't a great time to have a baby. But in my heart, a lot of it was about me. I didn't want to feel that old. When we went public with the news, I endured the "gramps" jokes but didn't enjoy them. So grandparenthood simply stirred up in me the self-centeredness of sin. I have had to pray about that quite a bit.

Reaction 2: "This is so weird."
Lauren, Ryan, and baby Paxton
Grandparenthood is weird in that it happens to you, and it marks a major transition in life, yet you have absolutely no choice over whether or when it happens. You get pulled into grandparenthood whether you want to go there or not. Since "gramps" wasn't part of my self concept but I was trying to accept it, it usually felt like grandparenthood was happening to someone else and me at the same time. This has also spurred some good conversations with God that revolve around identity and how much we try to craft an idea of who we are rather than simply accepting who we are and walking humbly with God in the midst of it.

Reaction 3: "This is so wonderful!"
Toward the end of the pregnancy and especially when Lauren went into labor, all those mixed emotions disappeared like a piece of paper flying out an open car window. My baby was having a baby! I was all-in. I couldn't have gotten more all-in!

Every time I look at the photo, I see a deep happiness in Lauren's eyes that I feel deeply but can't put into words. As her dad, that's all I need to see. I love this family photo, but I can't stop looking at Lauren's eyes. God uses moments of clarity like this to lead us to wonder, "Why did I waste so much time thinking about myself and worrying about this and that? Happiness is seeing what God is doing in someone else's heart."

A more veteran grandparent told me that grandparenthood is so great that it must be God's reward for people who endure parenthood. We are about to find out. As my cousin Beth said, "Let the spoiling begin!"


  1. Congrats, Dave! I totally get it! I am all-in with my three grandkids, and I do believe it is the most amazing journey ever! You and Susan will be amazing grandparents! Give Lauren a big hug! Let the games begin, Grandpa! Your heart has never known such love as this!

  2. Thanks, Peggy! The little guy is irresistible. No surprise there. :-) I read your comment to everyone.


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