Proverbs 17:6 “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
Until I experienced it myself, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
Friends wearing beatific smiles assured me that no other human experience surpasses that of becoming a grandparent. But until little Owen, our first grandchild, was born and then again when his sister Julia entered the world, I was a skeptic. Afterward, I started blogging about the joy they have brought us.
Fast forward to 2014. Granddad and I just spent six days taking care of three-year-old Owen and almost-two-year-old Julia while their parents celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Dublin, Ireland. We drove to their house to take care of the children by ourselves.
We entered their world and offered them five gifts. Oh yes, we brought them a bag of presents each, which were fun to open at the beginning. But the five below will last a lot longer!
Because we have flexible work schedules, we can offer the gift of our time. We cleared most of our appointments for the week and traveled with little pressure. We followed Mommy and Daddy’s suggestions and then we made plans with the children.
Owen, age three, likes to participate in choosing how we use Time. He asks, “Is that a good plan?” after he makes a request. If it seems reasonable, we do it. If it isn’t possible or wise, we offer another. Seldom did we have a problem negotiating. What Owen and Julia are really learning is how to keep promises we make when we plan our time together.
Making and doing things.
Owen likes to help cook. We call him the “Sous Chef.” Julia likes to clean. She will wipe a cloth or napkin over any surface. Both of them concentrate completely on the tasks at hand. They are learning skills transferable to school and work. By doing things with them and complimenting their efforts, we give them the gift of having an impact and making a contribution. The gratification evident on their faces and reflected on ours, travels into their spirits and stays with them after we are gone.
Stories, poems, and rhymes.
Owen loves to ride his big bike with training wheels. One morning we went out early enough to see our own long shadows on the fence. I recited Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem to him, partly because another grandmother and blogger friend, Marian Beaman, had just written about the poems she remembered from childhood.
Owen and Julia like to sing “Peace Like a River,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and the Johnny Appleseed song. We sing before bedtime, but we also sing while we work and play. These songs sink deeply into memory. We hope they lay the soundtrack of their lives.
We looked at everything, especially everything outdoors, with Owen and Julia. We saw droplets on leaves, seeds, leaves turning color, cracks in the sidewalk, mud, moss, spider webs, and so much more. Everything was exciting and beautiful. We put a grape in the sunshine because Uncle Nik told Owen it would turn into a raisin. And it did! We looked at every living thing as though it were a miracle. It was. It is!
These five gifts: time, making things, stories, songs, and attention, we left in Owen’s and Julia’s hearts.
And, of course, the gifts we give are the gifts we gave ourselves.
I can even claim the promise of Proverbs 16:31 “A gray head is a crown of glory!”
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.