Sarah Palin's Dad Says She'll Be a Great Grandmother

12/15/2008 at 01:10 PM EST

Sarah Palin's Dad Says She'll Be a Great Grandmother
Chuck Heath and Bristol and Sarah Palin
Bristol Palin is expecting her first child, a son, on Dec. 20 – and her grandfather says their family has been receiving support and gifts from all over the world.

"In Sarah's mailroom, there's 87 boxes – big boxes of mail that haven't even been opened," Sarah Palin's father, Chuck Heath, 70, tells the Web site "I've been answering letters all day, all week. We figure there's over a hundred thousand pieces here."

After rocketing into the public consciousness after Palin's vice-presidential bid, Heath says his family is still dealing with their newfound celebrity – and all the scrutiny that comes with such attention.

"It completely changed everything here," he says. "[We're] just a common, ordinary family. … All of a sudden [we] jumped into the mayhem."

Still, Heath says he and his family remain devoted to Palin's political career.

"We're very supportive of our daughter and her family," he says. "Anything she wants to do or undertake, we're backing her."

Support from Sarah

As for his granddaughter, Bristol, 18, becoming a mother, Heath says that she will have the full support of Sarah Palin, whom he characterizes as a hands-on mom.

"My daughter will be a great grandmother," he says. "She's a great mother – great daughter, great mother. I don't know about how much time she can spend, she's so busy. But she'll get her licks in. Don't worry."

With the baby on the way, and the spotlight on his family in Alaska, Heath says he hopes Bristol's son will be "a normal, happy, healthy kid." And, he says, he and his wife plan to spend plenty of time with him.

"My wife, Sally, is just looking forward to taking care of him," he says. "She's one of those good grandmother types. The grandkids and the kids come first. I come second."

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