THE SECOND TIME AROUND
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing. —Psalm 127:3 TEV
“I don’t baby-sit,” one woman I know stated. “I grandmother.”
With five grandchildren (not counting the four newest ones we welcomed into the family in 2018), ranging from 22 years old to 14, I’ve gotten to “grandmother” quite often.
Rearing children is different the second time around. I’m more patient. Maybe it’s because I have the best of both worlds—I can have my house the way I want, and I can enjoy the kids. Whenever they got too noisy for my nerves, I just sent them home.
I couldn’t do that with my own children. We were stuck with each other—for better or worse, and often it was “worst.” Not that my children were all that bad. But they were kids, and I was unprepared for this thing called parenting. I had my delusions, thanks to June Cleaver and Donna Reed and all those ’50s television shows depicting smiling housewives who wore dresses and pearl necklaces to vacuum a clean floor.
But I wised up the second time around. I learned that time goes by quickly, and children don’t stay little for long. Tiny fingerprints on television screens fade away all too soon.
When my daughter came for Christmas one year with her two-year-old son, I left Alex’s fingerprints on the furniture for months after they left. When my daughter was little, I tackled such signatures with furniture polish daily.
The second time around I learned that water-based markers come out of light-colored carpeting. And that it’s a good idea to keep old bath towels on hand for when five-year-old Brent washed the dishes. Water dries, but criticism stains a soul.
I learned it was fun to sit on the floor with Deagen and build a garage with wooden blocks, even if I struggled to get up because my back and legs were locked in place. I learned that my do-list would wait while I sat on the swing in the front yard on a summer afternoon with two-year-old Madison, sharing a bowl of raspberry Jell-O topped with lots of extra creamy Cool Whip. And to keep sugar-free gum on hand because her first words when she came were, “Ma-maw, gum?”
I learned that my smile, hug, and kiss when they visited in the middle of one of my projects told them that they were wanted and were more important than whatever it was I was doing.
I learned to treasure their spirit of independence and to find a way to let them “help” me, even if I had to do it all over when they left. It was never time wasted if they learned something.
I learned that rocking three-month old Kyle and inhaling his sweet-baby smell beat air fresheners hands down. That two children could fit on my lap, and I could read two stories at the same time. I learned that the sparkle of excitement and sheer joy in a child’s eyes is more valuable than the biggest diamond in the world.
A hundred years from now, no one will remember—or care about—what kind of house I lived in, what kind of clothes I wore, or what kind of vehicle I drove. But the world may be better because I was important in the life of a child.
Thank you, Lord, for my precious grandchildren! Amen.
Read and reflect on Psalm 127.
NOTE: My grandchildren are now 22, 20, 19, 17, and 14.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.