Our daughter and son-in-law’s parsonage overflows with their family of great Canadian jumpin’ Beans.
“Don’t move so close to your grandchildren,” a few people cautioned when God led the Preacher and me to a house around the corner from theirs two and a half years ago.”You’ll have no time for yourself.”
Around-the-corner family means adjustments, true. Sacrifices (on everyone’s part) too, and plenty of reasons to apologize and pray for grace. But loving family is very good for the soul.
When I arrived home from work last evening, all weary and word-depleted, the Preacher and Sherah Kathleen waited in the kitchen. Sherah visits on Tuesdays, during her siblings’ swimming lessons. We cherish our rare moments alone with her.
When I opened the door, that tiniest grandbean (newly walking) raised her arm and pointed her chubby index finger at me, all surprised. “Na….na!”
I set down my baggage, kicked off my boots, picked her up, covered her face with kisses and entered the sweetest part of the day—homecoming. Just seeing them there, these two beloveds, punctured holes in my weariness. Drained it some, and invited energy.
At supper, she ignored the chicken and threw all her corn kernels onto the floor. But she ate the pieces of baked potato, then tucked her head onto her shoulder and looked sideways at Mr. Potato man himself. Grinning.
She can’t keep her eyes off her grandfather most of the time, our tiniest bean. When he’s around, she smiles at his back, grins at his front, and spouts fountains of giggles when his long finger tickles her under her chin. Like her siblings, she adores Gampa.
The feeling is mutual. But as is the way with most men of his generation, during diaper changes the tykes become all Nana’s. Her Wet Wiggleness squirmed on our bed at bedtime, a telltale redness around the eyes. She fought the change, giggling, her little body twisting like quicksilver, evading my hands. Then she tried to put the nappy on herself, clapped her moccasin clad feet and squealed, her eyes wise and blue, like flax under clouds.
Change made, pyjamas finally on, she flung herself onto the bed backwards, waited for the bounce to stop, then, grinning, sat up flopped forward, folded double. Head between her feet, she twisted sideways to watch my reaction. That common infant contortion astounds me every time.
Oh, God, you bless us so. The thought flooded me, as I tickled the miracle in the middle of the bed. As I sang to her, stroked her satin hair.
This season gallops. Life won’t always favour the Preacher and me with the presence of nearby children who adore us. We pray to use the opportunities we have to love. To never prove untrustworthy. To closely observe and seek out the deep meaning of these words of Jesus: “Except you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”
If God has blessed you with a season of nearby children who adore you, I pray you the same.