It wasn’t until my first grandchild was born that I realised what I had missed not having grandparents. Well that is not exactly right I had one granny until I was nine. She died in our house and 53 years later I can still hear my mother during the night phoning the doctor saying she thought her mother had just died. That memory, and other memories from granny’s funeral still remain with me to this day. In the time I knew her, granny had always been ill, dressed in black, she was a lovely, kind woman who loved us, but her illness kept her from having interacting with us.
When Nathan was born there was an immediate bonding between grandson and ‘granda’, a strong silent bond grew stronger as the years went by. Aaron, Bethany, Lydiia, came next, followed by Josiah, Daniel and baby David over a 10-year period. Each one bringing their own little bit of joy and individuality into the world with them.
One of the first things I learned was that if I was to be a good granda, it would have a real effect on my time. Days set aside for my pursuits would change with a phone call, “What are you doing today granda?”
“Is granny working tomorrow,” could be rephrased, “Can we have a sleepover tonight.”
To get to my desk this morning I had to find my way through 3 sleeping kids and mountains of blankets on the floor. When I was young we rarely got visitors overnight so there was no spare beds. The few visitors we did have, slept in the beds and we all slept on ‘shaky doons’, simply blankets and quilts spread on the floor. After the grandchildren heard about ‘shaky doons’, beds can lie empty as they spread themselves out over the floor. It was a blessing I did not dispose of my mothers quilts for they love ‘granny Jeanie’s blankets’ when sleeping or sprawled on the floor watching television.
Of course you can have grandchildren and not be so involved, but I guess the motivating factor comes from my ‘Close brethren’ background where I got a real healthy fear of hell. That was my motivation to see my own kids saved and with grandchildren it started all over again. My constant prayer is that no matter how long it is before Jesus Christ returns, not one of the people I have been responsible for putting on this earth will be lost, however long it takes.
Of course I am only half of the equation when it comes to grandparents. Many times I come home from work and ask granny,
“What have you done today?”
“Building memories, just building memories, they won’t always have me but they will have beautiful memories.”
Mary is a terrific granny, just the kind of granny you dream about. If I had not married her I would want her to be my granny.
“So you want to make meringues, no problem, lets take out the mixer.”
“You want to go to the swings, right let’s get your coat on.”
“A game or a story? You choose.”
“Play Lego? Let’s tip them all out.”
Yes times have changed, mindsets have changed, the culture has changed since my young day but watching Mary with her grandkids and the joy I get from them myself sure makes me wish I had known my grandparents.
If it all sounds a bit sacrificial, it is not. Time given up is more than rewarded when a young face looks up to yours and says, “We’ve had a great day granda.” I realise looking back at my own life and life in general that things won’t always be this way. Grandchildren grow up and other things will take up their time and attention. They will want to look into the eyes of someone else’s grandchild and say; “We’ve had a great day today, haven’t we?” Of course they will still love granny and granda but other things will take up their time. Mary’s perspective is that she is building memories they will not forget, but from mine it is two way; God willing we will have memories in old age that will be pleasurable to ponder should we ever come to a place where the days lengthen out and Mary and I find ourselves in our old rocking chairs.
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