On this blog, my attempt is to be fairly transparent and somewhat vulnerable with my spiritual journey. Therefore, this particular topic fits nicely, since it challenges the capacity of my heart to love, forgive, and accept.
While we were in Texas this past weekend, it was reported on the news that the State of Texas is investing millions in what they call “pre-marital” counseling. Their hope is to stem the tide in that state (and I suspect other states) where one of every two marriages ends in divorce. That’s a noble cause and a heavy statistic. Yet, that is reality.
My folks were divorced, I have been divorced, and my oldest son has been divorced – for some of us, more than once. That sets up a certain scenario that many people do not often take into account. How grandparents meld with a mixed family. It is hard enough for the parents, but uniquely awkward for the grandparents.
Within the past year, my wife and I multiplied our number of grandchildren. We went from four to eight. If you take into account the children from my son’s previous marriage, the number is actually eleven. This is indeed a challenge.
Obviously the kids have no control over their situation and, in reality, neither do we as grandparents. By in large, our role is to accept and love. Often, easier said than done. Nevertheless, I believe we have been somewhat successful in the challenge.
The writer of Proverbs said that “Grandchildren are the crown of old men…” Literally, the sons of sons – in other words, those carrying the family name. In mixed families, this line becomes blurred, because sons may now have different fathers. Even though, for example, my son may adopt his three new sons and give them his name, are they truly carrying the family name? Even my son, because his mother and I were divorced, has a different name than mine, which means his sons have different names – so is it my “name” that continues or his adopted dad’s name that moves along in time. Blood says one thing, name says another.
All of this is indeed a difficult to sort out. However, what comes as a challenge to our hearts is welcoming with love, joy, and an open heart, the mixed blessing of all our grandchildren. Forming bonds, and building relationships is our goal.
We cannot control how our son manages his marriage. Our hope and desire is that this bond will be the one that lasts “’til death do we part.” Nevertheless, the children involved have no control over the outcome of the marriage, they are simply fellow travelers in that journey, as are the grandparents.
What that means for us — we have a quiver full of grand kids. All delightful, all full of fun, all innocent in many regards and blended together. Each one is special in their own right and occupying a special place in our hearts, no matter what.
It is truly a mixed blessing.
Thank you Father for the joy of grand children.