Wanting to make the most of every inch of our time together, I had packed each day with plans that I hoped would be pleasurable and memorable for these charming lassies who only come to my house maybe once a year. This visit was the first time they had ever been here without the parents. Oh, yes, it was time to spoil, love on and cherish the moments!
Jill, creative and careful, embraced the crafting and painting sessions. She eagerly and swiftly maneuvered the sewing machine after my brief tutorials. One day, invited guests munched on fancy fare at our dining room table; compliments of this young chef who chose the menu and helped me roll-up, bake up and stir up the food we ate.
Jill was the one who enjoyed the summer Fair without eating fried food or petting the Clydesdale's face when we walked by its pen. She rolled her eyes at her sister's antics and spent her money with caution. Polite and sensitive, Jill impressed me with her maturity and loveliness.
Elle, my energetic beauty, carefree and impulsive, kept me amused and ever needing to make judgment calls on her requests and cravings. A trip to the mall with Elle is like chasing a butterfly from one colorful alighting to another. Delayed gratification seemed foreign to her and lectures like 'maybe you'll see something you want even more later on' didn't phase her very often. The visitor Candy, mentioned earlier, clung to Elle like a baby in its mother's sling: cotton candy at the Fair, a Kit Kat from the gas station, sprinkles and icing from decorating cupcakes... I had to force the door closed on this tag-along more times than a grandma wants to say 'no!'
Elle imagined stories for us, painted with abandon, not caring to keep her hands paint- free, followed her swim in Lake Michigan with a face-forward angel-like impression in the sand, found it great fun to squeeze the frosting tube directly into her mouth and took a younger cousin by the hand to lead him to the playground. Elle impressed me with her love of life and eager embrace of new experiences.
Crazy Mouse Ride at the Fair!
What Papa and I do under the influence of grandkids!
Henna tattoos at the Fair! Could that bigger foot be Nana's??!!
Now that the house is void of noise and interruptions, and during this recovery time, I'm assessing observations and discoveries from the week of the grand girls' invasion. I don't think I would have planned anything differently. We had the right mix of goings and stayings. I enjoyed the moments I had to teach some cultural history of our area of the country; to share stories of when the girl's daddy was a little boy. Night time routine included a devotional reading from books I had bought for them to take along home, my dual back rubs to both girls sitting on the bed between them (my skills were significantly challenged the night I was asked to simultaneously give a back rub to one and a foot massage to the other) and the glorious privilege of praying for them before kissing their sweet faces with a soft goodnight.
It was good to have opportunity to share thoughts and answer questions together. It was harder than I remember with my kids to share why I believe what I believe about things like "is there anything wrong with wearing short shorts?", or "can I wear makeup today?". Maybe it was because I was aware of my influence and wanted my answer to be helpful and God-honoring. Moments like these are rare with Jill and Elle because we don't have face-to-face time very often and I wanted my thoughts to build them up and encourage their faith. It could also be that I hadn't taken the time to think through some of these things for myself lately and my ideas and beliefs have changed since I was a mom of impressionable kids; hopefully I am more full of grace and have grown away from legalism. It isn't easy to say no to them, period, but I want to honor what their mom and dad expect and want them to do also.
So my conclusion from all this is that grandparents should share themselves honestly and answer as needed with the wisdom we have now. And parents should take advantage of the years they have with their kids at home to teach them in every day situations what God is like and what he wants from them. When these questions come up, take time to answer thoughtfully and be the example of what you want them to see and model what you want them to do. You have the day in and day out, all-the-time moments with them, so make the most of it. You can give the firm 'no' when needed, rather than the 'well, I g.u.e.s.s sooo' I might tend to reluctantly say. You can pray with them whenever, and get to know their hearts and motives and instill Godly values that will become a solid foundation in their lives.
Deut. 6:4-9 Msg
God, our God! God the one and only!
Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got!
Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
We will be praying for you, parents! And every moment we have with our grandchildren is treasured. Know that we will love them and share ourselves and our faith with them as the opportunities arise. And we will pray for them also. What a God to create family! How blessed I am to be a parent and a grandparent!
Thank you, Josh and Sarah, for entrusting your precious Jill and Elle to us last week!