January 12, 2009 12:00 PM



December 27, 2008

7 lbs. 7 oz.

I’m a proud great-grandpa!” cheered Jim Palin, as the family broke the news to PEOPLE that his granddaughter Bristol and her fiancé, Levi Johnston, had welcomed a son, Tripp. Last year Bristol Palin was an unknown high school junior who had to break some very private news to her parents: She and her boyfriend of nearly three years were expecting. Word might not have leaked beyond Alaska, except that her mom, the state’s governor, Sarah Palin, later took the No. 2 spot on the GOP presidential ticket.

With the race lost—and Johnston’s mother, Sherry, recently arrested for allegedly selling OxyContin—both families needed some good news. They got it Dec. 27 when Tripp arrived, a week late but healthy. “It’s wonderful,” says Bristol’s great-aunt Colleen Jones. “I’m sure [Sarah] was thrilled.” No doubt so was Bristol’s dad, Todd, who had joked that his youngest, Tripp’s Uncle Trig, 9 months, “needs a little buddy.”

Bristol, 18 and finishing school in Wasilla by correspondence courses, and Levi, 18, an apprentice electrician, may wed this year. “She will be a loving mother,” Gov. Palin said last fall, “and Levi a very good father.” Adds a friend: “Sarah will be a great grandmother. She’s handled a lot this year and takes everything in stride.”

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