Days of Joy, Days of Opportunity
One of the wonderful things about being a grammy is that I get to babysit my grandbaby once in a great while. Today, I got to bring her home from breakfast, and we read stories and had ourselves a grand old time.
We took rides in the wagon, had a shoulder ride out to see Grandpa’s baby chickens. We went into the garden and got little yellow tomatoes and she ate them as fast as I could give them to her. We found ground cherries in their little parchment packages, and when I got them out for her, she ate those, too. I am so surprised at her tastes. Given the choice between a cherry tomato and a piece of candy, she will almost always choose the fruit.
I have been thinking a lot about what makes for successful grandparenting, and I have to say that the grandparents I most admire are those who are willing to be inconvenienced for and by their grandchildren. (The scary part is, I’m old enough to see how those relationships turned out over the long haul, and I am not talking out of my hat!). The neat thing is that we have the opportunity to be able to be in a relationship with this younger generation, effectual, impacting relationships, even if it is costly.
When Youngest Son was going through probably the most difficult time of his life when it came to matters of faith and practice, he came home from Discipleship training for Thanksgiving (and early Christmas) before leaving on assignment. My Daddy was ill, (though we didn’t realize that he had less than a month left to live). My Precious Daddy and My Sweet Mama always joined our family for Christmas Eve supper of Shrimp chowder and so we invited them for what was to be our Christmas eve supper that year in 2005. We had a memorable evening together, but Daddy wasn’t feeling very well, plus Mama was still recovering from her esophageal cancer, so shortly after our gift exchange, they decided to leave.
Lem followed him out, and they stood together in the laundry room for what would be their last good-bye. There was a hug–something my daddy was famous for, and then Daddy turned to leave. At the door, he hesitated, then turned back. Six words: “Be a man. Do what’s right,” he said with his gentle but intense way. And then he was gone. It was the last time that Lem saw him alive. But if you were to ask Lem what has impacted his life for responsible, Godly behavior, those six words will be one of the first things he recounts.
My Daddy bought the right to say that to Lem with nineteen years of consistent, loving interest. And I will go to my grave thankful for those six words and the man who loved his grandchildren with all the inconvenienced love a man could possibly have, not only in his heart, but in his very life.