The Second Time Around

The Huey family, July 24, 2021

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.

Welcome to the World, 19 Years Later

Dean, Brent, and me at Brent’s high school graduation, June 1, 2018

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . . . – James 1:17 NIV

 

Nineteen years ago today, our first grandchild was born. And a new chapter opened up in our lives, a chapter filled with joy and hope and life and wonder.

Today I sit back and remember. . . .

 

July 7, 1999

The sky glowed golden at sunset the day before you were born. A little after three in the morning, your Aunt Jaime announced from the bedroom doorway, “The baby’s on its way! The baby’s on its way!” When I called the hospital four hours later, your mommy told me you had arrived.

Brent Michael Huey. Our first grandchild. Seven pounds, six ounces of pure joy. I’d forgotten. Life has a way of throwing enough curve balls that we forget what it’s really all about. I’d built a wall around my heart to shut out the disappointments, grief, frustrations – and all the pain living in this world brings.

But that wall also shut out the joy and the love. Oh, I smiled and said I was doing good, even great, when people asked me how I was. But in reality, deep down inside, I felt little emotion.

When I knew you were here, Brent, that old wall just crumbled. Just your name is enough to bring tears of joy. But, oh, when I saw you! When I held you for the first time, you never even woke up for the whole hour and a half. As you slept soundly, I gently rocked you in my lap, one hand supporting your floppy little neck and the other beneath the blanketed bundle of you.

As I watched all those little baby faces you made, I dreamed of sitting in the rocker with you on my lap and reading to you; of walking with your little hand in mine and showing you all the wonders of God’s creation – a rainbow, a sunset, a snowflake; of feeling your little arms around my neck and inhaling your sweet baby smell. The Big Dipper isn’t big enough to contain the love I feel when I look at you!

Maybe that’s why God painted the sky golden the evening before you entered my world – to remind me where life’s treasures really are – and they aren’t in how well I write, how much money I have in the bank, how many awards I’ve collected, how clean my house is, or how little I weigh.

Life, my little grandson, is loving and giving and caring and sharing – and stopping by the roadside to enjoy a golden sunset.

Welcome to the world, Baby Huey. . . .

 

July 7, 2018

Today, Brent, we celebrate your birthday and tomorrow your high school graduation.

Oh, the young man you’ve become!

Over the years, Grandpa and I have been blessed to sit at countless baseball games, watch in pride and wonder as, in your senior year, you played varsity football. You’d decided to go out for football only a few months before the season started, yet you worked hard – and was elected one of the team’s captains. And then when the season was over, you signed a letter of intent to play college football.

We are so proud of you.

We’ve prayed you through illness and injury, fevers and broken bones, and when life’s path took directions you hadn’t planned or wanted.

Yet look at you. You’re smart, kind, compassionate, generous, caring, giving, hard working . . . and, no, I’m not partial at all.

Never stop dreaming, Brent-o. Never stop going after those dreams. For God has placed them in your heart. And He will give you the strength and endurance, patience and persistence, to achieve them.

Today the road of life stretches before you. Step with confidence and faith. Believe in the person God is making you to be.

Grandpa and I will be cheering you on, praying for you, loving you as always.

Welcome to the world, Brent Michael Huey. Oh, the places you’ll go!

 

Thank you, God, for this grandson – bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh – who reawakened love and joy in my life-beaten heart when he was born and has continued to do so to this day. Bless him and guide him as he follows the path You have laid out for him. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 139:13-18.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.