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Grand-motherhood

Fourteen years ago today, I became a grandmother.  My oldest granddaughter, Elyse, celebrates her 14th birthday today.

Becoming a grandmother has been one of God’s best blessings. He is so creative to plan that as we get older, along come these little people to bring back the kid in us.

When I was pregnant with my own child, some 30 plus years ago, there were no machines to picture the embryo in the womb.  I barely got to hear the heartbeat in the last month.  For the entire nine months, we had no idea what we were having.  Several people told me I must be having a girl by the way I carried the baby.  Someone else told me she could not imagine me with anything other than a girl.  Did she mean that I was way too prissy to raise a son to be manly? I still don’t know.

When the doctor announced, “It’s a boy,” the surprise was wonderful.  I was thrilled, delighted, overwhelmed and humbled to have been chosen by God to be mother to this wee baby boy.  I loved every minute of him. 

After a number of years and a few heartaches, we realized our son would be an only child.  I put away some of the things from my childhood, my doll furniture and dolls.  The hope of giving them to a daughter were gone.

Instead my days were filled with being mom to a boy, and not a dull one was among them.  I picked out boy clothes and made a Spider Man cape. I bought little cars and trucks and yes, even fake guns, boy toys, for him to play with. I made his room look masculine and cut his hair to look like his dad’s. I was a den mother for a batch of his Cub Scout friends. I dealt with a caged gerbil that was bound and determined to escape. I even shared his affection with any number of the fairer sex, until I finally took second fiddle to the one woman who truly captured his heart.  All the stuff boys are made of became our experiences, Sweet William and I.

Can you even imagine, then, the excitement I felt when my son and sweet daughter-in-love announced they were having a girl.  Visions of pink ribbons, frilly dresses, tea parties and baby dolls danced in my head.  I was going to have a girl-child to snuggle and cuddle, to share girl playtime and chit chat, to experience female moments that can drive a guy to distraction. A girl would understand that giggles and tears are just an emotion away.

Since that day 14 years ago, I’ve been blessed with two more grandchildren, a loves-to-dress-up girl named Celeste and our all-boy Ethan.  Let no one try to argue with me, there is a difference in boys and girls.   And I am loving every single minute of experiencing their uniquness.

Want to know the amazing thing about these grandchildren? They are equally delightful, they bring equal but different joy, and they have burst my heart wide open with love.

Being a grandparent is like getting a do-over, a rewind, a second chance. The things I would have done differently with my son, I get to do differently with my grandchildren. Things I thought so importance during my son’s boyhood, really don’t seem to matter that much now.

I think it is due to growing older and wiser, seeing life with mature eyes, and knowing we parents made a lot of mistakes and in spite of us, our children turned out OK.

I think I’ve become more fun as a grandparent, less particular, open to new experiences. I count the moments precious.

One day, I will pass on to my heavenly home. While I have this day, I want to build a house of memories for my grandchildren. I hope they remember laughter, funny stories, hugs and kisses, good-night prayers and blessings, unconditional love, complete acceptance.

I am depositing love into their hearts and I am storing up prayers. Sometime in the future when they hit a snag in the road or when something almost crushes the life out of them, I hope they will remember how much their Grammy loved them, believed in them, and talked to God about them.

Being a Grandmother is one of God’s best blessings.

Driving Incognito

Just a couple of months ago, late October, I said good-bye to an old friend, my 1993 Blue Cadillac Deville.  Sweet William and I had purchased it used in 2001 from a couple who only drove to Southeast Christian Church on Sundays.  Well, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that.  We did, however, feel like we got a great used car that had been cared for and had low mileage for its age.  It was big and roomy, had leather seats and a few bells and whistles, luxurious compared to what I was used to.  And it had horsepower!

At the time of purchase, my two granddaughters fit comfortably in the back seat.  When the grandson came along, there was plenty of room for all three of them.  People who rode with me often said, “This car sure rides nice.”  And it did.  I loved driving that big blue car.  We became friends.

I was fairly recognizable driving around my home town.  Not very many people drive light blue Cadis, so I was spotted easily. 

As the years and the mileage crept up on the Cadi, more repairs were needed.  It was in the shop so many times our auto repair guy at Chuck’s Automotive came to expect us regularly.  The last time the Cadi broke down on the side of the road this summer, I didn’t know whether to call Chuck or the county coroner. 

Bill and I began to think about looking for another car.   After trying out several makes, models, and sizes, we found a pretty little black Honda Accord, 2007 with low mileage.  It was another gently used car that we hoped would serve us for many years.

Now I’m driving incognito, no longer easily recognized as people pass me on the street.  Have you noticed how many black cars are on the road?  Do you know how many black cars are in the parking lots?  A bunch, let me tell you.  I stood beside one, pressing the key’s remote unlock button over and over while nothing happened.  “Is the battery already dead in this thing?”  I thought, quite exasperated.  Then I discovered it was not my car. 

Recently I was walking through the church parking lot looking for my black car in the dark of night, pressing the button over and over hoping the lights would flash where I could see them.  Several cars looked promising until I realized people were in them with their lights on ready to exit.

It’s embarrassing.

I’ve been reading Matthew and Luke, reliving the story of the first Christmas. I find it so fascinating that God concealed Himself in the womb of a young virgin. His birth, though miraculous for certain, was still quite ordinary in most respects. Think of it – God Incognito!  The glory of the Almighty God was hidden, disguised, and undetected by most. 

Scripture tells us God revealed Himself to a choice few in the days surrounding his birth:  Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, Simeon, and Anna.  After that, Jesus lived an undetected life for about 30 years, walking the earth disguised and hidden.  Do you know how many Jewish boys ran along the paths around Galilee, how many were budding carpenters, hammering out wooden creations? 

People watched him grow up, become a teenager, take on his manhood, and yet they didn’t recognize that He was God incognito. John 1:10 tells us He was in the world, and though the world was made by God through Him, it did not recognize Him.

Just a few verses down, however, John says, “We beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” (verse 14b).

Ah yes, God is still willing to reveal Himself to those who have eyes to see.

There is a funny thing about my little black Honda. It recognizes me when I push the unlock button. It flashes its lights at me even though I may not always see it.

God recognizes those who are searchng, those looking for something they think they need, somthing they hope will satisfy.  And all the time God is flashing His Light at them as if to say, “I’m right here!” 

Over and over in the Bible God says, “Call unto me and I will answer . . . ”  It is His assurance that He does not want to remain incognito any more.  He wants to be found, to be recognized as the Savior who came in mystery, only to reveal His glory and His love on the cross.  

Christmas fun – December 8

After an early morning appointment, I went to Little Flock to help set up chairs, music stands, and lights for the orchestra.  The music department and media are gearing up for the annual  Christmas Choir concert.  This year’s “Gloria” promises to be glorious.  I can’t wait to hear the drum line march in and play during “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Afterward, I picked up the three grandchildren to help me with a little Christmas decorating.  Pulling the multiple boxes from their storage area, I was amazed again at how much there is.  The children and I looked at some of the items and remembered them from years before.  I told them the story of the ceramic carolers I painted before I was married and the small village their daddy gave me to go with the carolers when he was old enough to buy a gift himself.  They carefully placed them on the piano.

Celeste found one small box and exclaimed, “The Snow Man Tea Set!  I love the Snow Man Tea Set.”  She took it immediately and set it up in their room.  Later, Celeste took a thow-away box and created a stable.  She set up a manger scene in it.    

Ethan pretended to be a puppy, dressed up like an egyptian sheik, then became Robin Hood with a mask I made him from an old Christmas card.

Elyse got on line to search for a Christmas tree for our house.  No, I don’t have a tall tree this year for all the beautiful ornaments I’ve collected through the years.  But Elyse and I are still looking for the perfect one.

All of us decorated the Jesus tree.  Only two feet tall, it holds small ornaments like a lamb wrapped in a red ribbon, a star, a heart, a tiny Bible, a cross, and other things that remind us of Jesus and tell his life’s story.

We took a break with hot Tazo Apple Red tea steeped in a pretty new green teapot given to me by one of my piano students.

I unpacked the Candy Cane mugs my mother gave me the last Christmas she was with us.  The children already know that story.  The mugs are treasures to me, and I think of her when I look at them.  It just isn’t Christmas until those mugs are hung on the little rack and sitting on the kitchen counter.

After the children left, there were boxes and greenery strewn about.  Dishes needed washing.  Stuff was in stacks here and there.  The house was rather a shambles.  I had to rush off to church for work, piano lessons, and choir practice.  No time to pick up and put things in order.

Back home, I looked at the mess that still waited for me.  I thought about the good time we had today, the memories we had made, the food and laughter we had shared.  This mess represents a little Christmas joy.   And I am so glad for it.