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Novice Grandparenting

One week ago, our son and daughter-in-law became proud parents of our first grandchild. He's a boy named James Thomas, or “Jamie.” For the first time, my husband and I are asking ourselves, What does grandparenthood look like? Do we copy our grandparents, or will we be totally different? Are we making this too complicated?

The answer appeared a couple days ago, when I came upon a blog post from my seminary professor and advisor, James Farwell. Now in his 60s, he was reflecting on how his grandmother unknowingly shaped his call to be a priest and theologian. He wrote about their ongoing games of checkers, and how she patiently listened to all his questions about life. How she had endless curiosity about what was going on in his head (as his students still do), and how she shared her own thoughts. Farwell writes, “My grandmother attended to me and my experience. Her complete generosity felt like an act of prayer for me. It was a deep gift … My parents loved me, to be sure. But in Mum, in her attending to me, all along, I knew that I was beloved.”

That sounds just right to me. Our role as grandparents is to support Jamie’s knowledge of his belovedness—that he is unconditionally loved and cherished by God. By no coincidence, that is what your rector also wants for all of you. If you have a sense of your belovedness, at church and beyond, then this congregation has fulfilled its mission. May we grandparent each other just like Mum, with generosity, patience, and sharing of God’s love. Just as when I look at my grandson’s face, this vision of our church fills me with hope.


Mother Nina+

P.S. I know this congregation has so many experienced grandparents. If you would like to share your advice with Andy and me, please email me!


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