By Del Duduit
Poof – just like that I’m a grandparent.
Little Miss Sophie has come into my and Angie’s lives at the perfect time and the perfect way – already potty trained.
She is the precious four-year-old daughter of our new daughter-in-law Danielle, who married our oldest son Gabe on Memorial Day weekend.
Sophie is a cutie patootie with a smile that melts even the hardest and coldest of people – like me.
I have to be on guard now and have a desire to be a better grandfather than I was as a parent. There are times when I honestly doubt I was a good Dad. I guess I let the devil chew at me.
But then I stand back and look at how my sons turned out, and I like to think I had a small part in their development.
Both are preachers and both have good jobs. They are respectful of others and have wonderful wives too.
When they were young, I found it difficult to find a job in our area that allowed me to support them the way I envisioned. I made sure I was part of their lives growing up in local athletics and took them to church on a regular basis. Could I have done more? Probably. But I can’t go back. I can only look ahead for Sophie’s sake.
For the past couple years, I have turned my attention to writing while Angie has supported me and tried to establish herself in a new position at Shawnee State University while getting her personal business – Joel Communications — up and running.
These past 12 months have been amazing. I have signed contracts for eight books and have submitted three manuscripts. My first book hit Amazon and the shelves in April, and I am working on the fourth manuscript scheduled for completion by the end of August.
What better time to get a doll of a granddaughter? And, oh yeah, we have a grand-dog too. We babysat Bo last week while our son Eli and his wife Kylee took a vacation. He was no trouble. We listened to Kylee’s orders, except we did slip him some bacon now and then. What dog doesn’t love bacon? Who doesn’t love bacon?
Sophie, Danielle, Kylee, and Bo have been much-welcomed and needed additions to our family. Danielle also has a dog named Gus and a kitten called Whiskers.
I want to be better as a grandparent. I know I have areas I can work on for Sophie and the many more grandchildren we expect to be blessed with in the next few years (hint hint.)
I have some vague memories of my grandparents since they lived with me when I was younger. My grandmother Faye was firey and loved to watch soap operas.
Angie was blessed to spend more time with hers and learned valuable lessons from them – although she never inherited her Grandma Esther’s gift of cooking. Instead, she took after her Grandpa Floyd’s love for gospel music and his appetite for macaroni.
Now, at age 51, I find myself in the welcomed role of Grandpa. I received my first card on Father’s Day from Sophie, and it was sweet.
I have a big responsibility now. Fortunately, I know Sophie has been raised right up to this point. She loves to attend church and pray. She supports Gabe’s preaching and even picked out a bow-tie for him to wear when he goes to his next gig.
Wow – I’m an instant Grandpa. I have a new role too. I have to make sure I have great stories to tell her. I have to make sure I take naps now because that’s what I see them do in movies like Christmas Vacation. I get to give her sugar and cookies and then send her home with her mom and dad (just like we did with Bo.)
But I have another responsibility. Where do I obtain Biblical knowledge? In the King James Bible, the word grandparent is only referred to as one’s children’s children. The term grandmother is only found once in the Bible in 2 Timothy 1:5. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice, and I am persuaded that in thee also. There’s no clear direction there for me to interpret.
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Does that get me off the hook? Not at all. I’m new to this but up for the challenge. Here are my own tips for how I am going to earn the No. 1 Grandpa T-shirt and mug this Christmas:
- I will support the parents no matter what (even if they are wrong): I made mistakes as a parent and I learned. I will never undermine her parents’ authority and will always speak positively of them – even if Gabe does cheer for the Browns.
- I will be a good example: I’ll continue to write and minister in my own way and attend church like have for the past four decades.
- I will establish higher standards: When she comes to spend the night with us, the only rule will be for us to have fun, eat ice cream, and play with slime.
- I will spoil them – constructively: What does that mean? I will only give her things if her parents approve. You won’t see me slip a hamster in her car seat without the go-ahead from Danielle.
- I will pray for them: I already do this. But it’s good to put it in writing so she will one day see this and know I talked to God on her behalf. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. PROVERBS 22: 6
I think Angie and I are in for a fun ride these next several months and years. We already have one granddaughter, two grand-dogs, and a grand-cat. I think we are up to the challenge.
If nothing else, I’ll go by this oldie but goodie:
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of a sinner is laid up for the just. PROVERBS 13: 22.
What will you leave your grandkids? Money? Debt? A bad name? Leave with them a testimony that you did your best to live right in the sight of God and show them love and do everything to bring them joy. I hope one day Sophie has fun stories to tell about me. Like the day she helped me sneak sausage to Bo behind Kylee’s back. But don’t tell her. It’s our little secret.
I’d like to hear what legacy you intend to leave your grandchildren.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER – 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful –can be purchased on Amazon here.