At four or five years of age, Dinah Jane made a proclamation. “Nana,” she said, “ONE day, when you get LITTLE and I get BIG, I’m going to push you around in your wheelchair.”
I didn’t mark the proclamation day on the calendar, but it may have been the day I plopped her cantankerous, weary little self, protesting and squealing, on top of a wheelbarrow load of leaves. By the time we arrived at our village’s yard-waste site, long before I dumped out both child and leaves, her tears had become giggles. “Nana, push me back to your house!” she pleaded.
I reminded her of that ride a few weeks ago as we made another dump trip, again to drop off leaves. This time she walked beside me. “I’m too big for that now, aren’t I, Nana?” She’s right. My grandbeans are all stretching like sunflowers, and not only physically. Spiritually and emotionally, too. From a habit of resisting everything but her own way, this middle child is budding into an agreeable little person, delightful to have around. Helpful, obedient, generous and earnest. On most days. Perfection is too great a burden for anyone, after all.
As I prepared for a recent trip, she followed me about the house, chattering as I packed. Finding my battery-powered foot buffer in one of the bathroom drawers, she wanted to know how to use it. I sat down on the stool and demonstrated.
“Can I do it?” she asked. I agreed, and with great care, and even greater speed, she filed each of my toenails and smoothed the bottom of both feet. Then, choosing a favourite lotion from my collection, she rubbed it in, clearly relishing both the fragrance and sensation.
“Oh, honey, that feels GOOD,” I told her. “This is so kind of you.” I explained that taking care of our feet is important to our health, but that not everyone can do it by themselves. “There are people who do this all the time, for their jobs. Pedicurists. Podiatrists…” I explained those long words and reminded that even Jesus helped take care of feet, one day washing his disciples’ feet, dusty and calloused from walking many miles on dirt roads.
She listened, then uttered another proclamation, emphasizing each word with enthusiasm. “THAT’S what I want to do one day, Nana. Take care of people’s feet.”
Since that afternoon, she’s mentioned that several times, again on our last trip to the dump together, assuring me she still plans to push me in my wheelchair – when I’m little and she’s big. “Good,” I said. “You can take care of my feet too!”
Nearby grandparenting brings many things, among them the opportunity to observe and influence one’s grandchildrens’ developing thoughts on faith, on life and the road ahead. My prayer is that God will supervise each seed I plant in their minds and hearts.
Father, dry up each weed seed, and water each beautiful one – for your glory and our grandbeans’ good. Amen.