My grandson and I spend a lot of time together. Yesterday we went to the “Dinosaur” park; so named because there is a large dinosaur-shaped gym set that fuels his 3 year old imagination. We pretended that we were “dinosaur bone diggers” and imagined that the sticks and tree limbs we found on the ground were bones that we’d discovered. Then, I became Grandma Pterodactyl and he was Baby Pterodactyl. We flew around the park flapping our wings and making loud screeching noises.
I helped him practice crossing the monkey bars and navigate the exercise equipment that is geared more toward adult fitness routines than child play. I’m short, but I tried to boost him up high enough to hang from tall bars, over and over again. I helped him overcome the limitations of a little boy body, even as he flexed his muscles and imagined that he is as big as his Daddy.
I held his hand as he walked around the edge of the water fountain and we laughed when he almost fell in. It was only funny because he was always holding Grandma’s hand and never in any real danger of getting dunked.
And, then we pretended that the park bench was a boat and we were trolling for swordfish. Over and over again we cast out our line, struggled with our big fish and then decided if it was a keeper or not. We talked about propellers and anchors (two of his favorite things) and we imagined the salt spray on our face.
I pushed him on the baby swing for a long time. He is in that in-between stage where he is a little big for the baby swing, but he can’t go very high yet on the regular swing. That is when he asked me to do my favorite thing…
I sat down first and he wrapped his little chubby legs around my waist and his arms around my neck. I couldn't hold him because I had to hold the chains on the swing. I tell him, “Hold tight!” and we began to move backward and forward. Slow at first, and as I pumped my legs…faster ...and faster. Then we were soaring! He held me so tight that I could hear his breath in my ear and his hair tickled my nose.
My heart just surged with love for this little boy who trusts me to swing him high. We swung and swung as one, for as long as my arms and legs could pump and I wished that I would never have to let him go.
Except….let him go I must. He and his family; my oldest daughter, her husband, and his new baby brother, leave for a faraway place in about a month. And, my youngest daughter leaves next week. All of them will be in a distant land and my heart will deeply mourn. The empty places will be vast and I will be surrounded by the quiet of their absence.
And, this is where I will climb up on my Saviors lap. I will wrap my arms and legs around Him and I will hold on for dear life. He will whisper, “Hold tight!” and I will because I know that if I don’t, I will fall…and I will fall hard.
I want to be a sky-scraping swinger.
I want to fly high and feel the wind in my hair and the thrill of going further than the limits of the earth, the limits of my flesh and bone, the limits of my weak heart. I want to do what is beyond my own capabilities to do; say goodbye to my precious ones. On my own I would still be in the baby swing wondering how life changed all around me.
But, I’m going to hold tight. With Him I will soar.