Bookends of Gratefulness

This past week started by spending 12.5 hours with our nearly 5 month old grandson.  Even though my wife and I were bone-tired after playing with our grandson like crazy fools nearly every minute of that entire time, it was still hard to say goodbye at the end of the day.  Ten minutes later I was sleeping.  The next day I was lonesome for him all over again.

A lot has been said and written about becoming a grandparent and the general theme is true – you cannot really explain it, you just have to experience it.  Very grateful that we are close enough to pour into this grandchild every week and be an important part of his life.

At the end of the week, I was able to go downtown to see my son at his place of work and grab lunch with him.  His excitement, energy, confidence, competence, and maturity were all evident to me and it was the highlight of my day.  Tears of gratitude streamed down my face for most of my ride home that day.

These interactions with grandkids and adult kids are a good reminder that of all the things I can have going on in my intellectual engagement and giving back buckets that they are no replacement for the bookends of gratefulness I experienced in the past week.



A Boomer In Transition

Speed of Life

This  morning I am struck by the speed of life.

Since the middle of April, I lost my Dad, gained a grandson,  gained another daughter (my son got married),  watched my daughter-in-law graduate from college and  get a job, my son graduate from college and  get a job, my daughter get promoted, my son-in=law graduate from grad school and get promoted, and my wife go back to college as part of her sabbatical.

Since the middle of April, I was declared cancer free (first appointment after 5 year mark is the official marker) and mentored my 100th cancer patient.

Since the middle of April, our dog turned 15 years old and became incontinent, lost his hearing and lost his desire for cheese, but gained a love of peanut butter.  He is now on anti-anxiety meds and so am I.

Since the middle of April I got a new job – watching my grandson on Monday’s (my wife is my tag team partner on this – I am early shift and she is late shift).  Because I am retired, I seem to find a way to see my grandson at least a couple of other times each week.  If not, I get too lonesome for him.  This is the best job I have had and probably ever will have.  Plus, we understand each other – this is an inside the family joke – even though he is not talking, I know what he is saying.

Grateful to be retired to be able to be all-in on this new stage of life and the increased speed.



A Boomer In Transition

Father’s Day Thoughts

To the father’s, Happy Father’s Day!

I have mixed feelings about this Father’s Day.  On the one hand, this is my first Father’s Day as a Grandfather – and I love it!  Proverbs 17:6 says  “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”  I don’t know about the “aged” comment, but I like the reference of the crown!

On the other hand, this is my first Father’s Day without my Dad and I miss him.  It is really a gift beyond measure to have a Dad who loves you unconditionally, and is proud of you beyond what you deserve.  I kind of knew that when he was alive, but I understand it better now.  Yet, we have a Father in heaven who loves us unconditionally and gives us grace beyond what we deserve.  The Bible has 520 verses on father’s and some of these are instructions for earthly father’s, but a large number are about our Father in heaven and his relationship to us.  As an aside, there are only 68 verses on mothers, sorry ladies!

This weekend our grandson will be dedicated in church and I expect tears of joy to see him and his parents supported by family and the church family, not yet even 2 months old, and set forth on a path that will endure in the days, months, and years ahead.  What a great way to spend Father’s Day weekend!


A Boomer In Transition

When the Boomer Becomes a Grandpa

I became a grandparent 8 days ago and I have struggled with articulating my feelings about this new part of the journey.  I write a daily journal and for the past week I have sat in my early morning time with the journal open and the pen at the ready and yet could not write even one word about having a grandson.  This is how life-changing the experience has been so far!

My friends who have gone before me on the grandparent journey told me that there is nothing like being a grandparent and that I would love it!  The problem with the “nothing like it” comment is that it is really hard to explain.

I was on campus yesterday and talked to a more experienced grandparent and she immediately asked me (after asking to see pictures) “how does it feel to be a grandparent?”  My answer was a ear to ear smile, followed by “It’s hard to explain, I knew that I would love this grandson, but the love is so instantaneous, so complete and so deep, that it is kind of overwhelming.”  Her answer was an ear to ear to smile, followed by “Yes, that is it, you knew you would love them, but not this crazy instant love!”

If you are not a grandparent, this post probably seems very odd, if you are a grandparent you are probably smiling and know what I mean.  As I have pondered this question, my attempt at an explanation is this:  The difference between your own kids and the grandchild is that the parents have 9 months with child  before he or she is born.  They experience a completely different kind of journey leading up to the birth as the child get’s bigger, the many doctor appointments, hearing the heartbeat for the first time, feeling the kicks for the first time, hours and hours of talking to this new child and when the child is born, they already know him or her.  For the grandparents;  it’s more like “boom, here I am!”

I am grateful that the delivery went well, that the parents are doing well, and that my new grandson is perfect in every way!

Grandpa Dean