The school’s empty staff room seemed a perfect place to lull a baby to sleep. I sat in a big old armchair, my tiny grandson resting on my lap. In the gym down the hall his parents and their fellow cast members rehearsed for the upcoming community musical. Fragments of song floated into the room. “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, quickly fly the years. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears…” I hummed along.
Some of my most memorable moments with the grandbeans, they’ll never remember. Benjamin was only eight months old that Sunday afternoon. All sleepy and still in my arms. Wrapped like a bean fajita.
I’d often participated in the annual community musicals. For Fiddler on the Roof, I’d accepted a smaller role, though sweeter. For six months of rehearsal, I would be official nanny to the youngest cast member. Unlike my daughter and son-in-law, Benjamin had a tiny part – the baby in the bittersweet final scene, carried offstage by his parents as they and their Jewish friends leave their homes for a life of exile from Russia.
Snow fell outside the staff room window; large flakes that landed like goose feathers on a nearby row of towering spruce. Even little Mr. Bean seemed captivated. Tucked in the crook of my arm, lulled by my hum and the falling snow, he relaxed. And finally, slept.
Perhaps it was the song, but gazing down at his sleep-flushed face, my breath caught. This child, oh Lord, this child. What of the rising and setting of his seasons? The many ahead (God willing, but only he knows) and the very short one behind. And just like that, my hum turned into a conversation between me and God.
Lord of all our seasons, please guard and guide this child. Help him to grow up joyfully and well, into a loyal man of faith who longs to live right. To please you first of all. Train our family as we lead him. We’re new at this, his parents and grandparents. You may have to work hardest of all on this imperfect Nana. I don’t want to be an indulgent grandmother (well, maybe just a little, on Sunday afternoons), but a faith-building, supportive one. And Lord, please can you leave a little crazy in all of us? A little loud, a little sweet and a little fast. Boys seem to need that.
Our conversation carried on that afternoon, until Benjamin’s parents came down the hall and found us there, baby still sleeping and me…well, weeping.
A decade later, five more grandbeans have joined our family. I’ve had – still have – many more times of prayer over them. Moments when God seems especially near as I cradle a child, sometimes sleeping, sometimes crying, sometimes ill with fever or fevered with anger. Some prayers are whispered, others shouted. But always with the certainty that our Heavenly Father hears and answers. That he cares. That he always, always loves. And that quickly fly the years.
Our children never stop needing prayer…if you have a child of any age on your heart, pray along with Pastor Joyce Meyers…