My older sister is a grandmother— Gigi to be exact. Apparently, choosing your grandmother name is a trendy thing. I am overjoyed for my sister and my niece. Ironically, my personal joy is that I am not a grandmother. I feel bad about thinking it, saying it, and typing it. Yet it is true that my heart is hardened to the thought. I am just not ready for that phase of my life.
I am knee deep in raising the children that I have been blessed with so close together in age. I still have five teenagers in need of my attention. Reality peeks around the corner as they age and move towards the vocations God has planned for them. The thought only crosses my mind when events like my sister’s joy appear on my radar. That’s when I feel guilty for not dreaming of the day that I get to pick my grandmother name. God always seems to redirect me in my errors, so there is hope.
Summer break has given me the opportunity to spend a little more time with my dear ones. One day, I drove my seventeen-year-old to babysit. The young mother needed help with a four-year-old and a six-week-old. Being a mother of six, I knew my teen would not be able to balance both demands well. I offered to stay and saw the relief in the mother’s eyes. It has been a while since I held a precious little one, and two hours of reprieve for the young mother was more than worth me tagging along.
I held the baby and my daughter read books to the older brother. On a few occasions, my daughter snapped photos of me with the baby and sent them to her dad. “Look, Mom has a baby!” and “Aren’t they sweet,” were her thoughts to him. I did not realize something so simple would matter to my daughter.
Three diapers and one bottle later the baby began to show signs of needing a nap. There was no way I was going to be able to put him down without heart wrenching screams. As his breathing paced with mine, his tiny body snuggled close to my chest, I was able to gently recline on a comfortable bed. The peace of a sleeping baby and the warmth of the sun through the window was quite gratifying. I kept still and quiet in order not to disturb the baby—so quiet that my daughter thought to check in on us. She just smiled at me when she saw him sleeping and backed away. “The Lord is good to all, compassionate towards all your works” (Ps 145:9).
The young mother returned, and we headed home. My daughter thanked me for the help and shared her thoughts on what it was like to jointly babysit. She did not have many memories of me with her younger siblings, because they were all young at the same time, so the babysitting adventure was a glimpse into what my mothering must have looked like from a different perspective. She was grateful for the experience. I was thankful for the softening of my heart. Proverbs 16:31 proclaims, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Maybe gramma-manda wouldn’t be such an awful thing to hear one day in the distant future. May God’s will be done as the phases of life pass from one to another.
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens” (Ecc 3:1),