“You’re the Grandpa Now,” Ensign, June 2019
My first two grandchildren were born a month apart. Olivia arrived at the end of March, and Justin arrived three weeks later. My wife and I were elated. We again had little ones to cuddle—and spoil.
After each birth, we called our parents to share the happy news. My mother wondered aloud whether it was really possible that her grandson and granddaughter were already parents. And I wondered when I had become old enough to already have grandchildren.
The babies’ blessings were scheduled for June, and my wife and I invited our parents, who all lived out of state, to join us. They couldn’t wait to see the newest members of their growing posterity.
We planned to bless Justin at the beginning of our daughter’s sacrament meeting and then drive across town a few hours later to bless Olivia at the beginning of our son’s sacrament meeting.
Our parents had planned to arrive a day or two before the blessings. But as the day approached, my mother-in-law suffered a fall. While recuperating, she fell again. It would be several weeks before she would be back on her feet. Then, two weeks before the scheduled blessings, my father stepped awkwardly from a pickup truck onto a leg weakened by cancer and broke a bone. With his leg in a cast, he was unable to walk—or travel.
Neither set of great-grandparents would be coming after all. We were disappointed but decided to go ahead with the blessings as scheduled.
The first Sunday in June arrived, and both new fathers pronounced beautiful blessings. As I stood in the circle listening to my son bless his little daughter, however, I lamented that my father wasn’t there. It hardly seemed fair.
At that moment, a voice came into my mind: “You are the grandpa now.”
Five simple words, but I knew in my heart what they meant. They meant that Dad would be leaving us soon. They meant that I would have to step up and take his place. They meant that I would have to become wise and strong.
I’m thankful we had Dad for another two years. I’m thankful for his example as a father and grandfather. And I’m thankful for the knowledge I have that I will see him again. With heaven’s help, I’m trying to fill his shoes.