Sunday, July 24, 2011
Christi and Ryan planned a trip to Vegas so she could attend her Uppercase Living convention, so I volunteered to watch the kids. Pretty nice of me, huh? Here's the thing...right when we think we're being the nice guy, we find out that the tables are completely turned on their heads. I arrived Monday afternoon, and Christi gave me the schedule for the week. I've raised 5 children, I kind of know how to do this. But homemaking as a grandma is quite different from homemaking as a momma, because you have to do things the way momma does them. That's what makes kids feel secure when their little world changes. I'm proud of Christi as a momma, and it was such a blessing to experience the great parenting she and Ryan have done for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for 10 years.
I prayed for safety first and foremost, because I sure didn't want anything to happen to these children on my watch (or any other watch). God was so merciful...He protected us in all ways.
Then I prayed that Christi and Ryan could relax, trusting that all was well at home so they could truly have some rest in spite of their busy Vegas schedule. I wanted them to have a little respite from parenthood. And I think God answered that prayer in spades.
I prayed for peace and joy and patience and kindness, and He multiplied all of these things through the course of the week. I took the girls to VBS each day, and Jackson and I had our own kind of fun. I had forgotten a little about the rituals of parenting, how you do the same things over and over every day in order to create stability and security. If I deviated from the routine, the kids were sure to tell me. On the other hand, we were partners in crime a few times, doing things "momma doesn't allow." Jigsaw puzzles, baby dolls, guitar recitals, puppet shows, arts and crafts, library visits, ice cream cones, scooters, bicycles, hula hoops, kitchen chores, laundry, bandaids, car seats, play dates, matinees...our week was full.
Michelle was with me each evening when she got off work at 9 or 10, and helped me get everyone dressed in fashionable outfits each morning before she left for school. Although Michelle doesn't have children of her own, she is completely invested in the happiness and well-being of her nieces and nephews, and that's no small commitment. My week was full, and God blessed me by giving me this awesome opportunity to "grandma" my grandkids throughout the week.
I get to see Carlisle's family in just a few days, so I will get to "grandma" the twins some more as well! It's so hard to live so far away from Shayleigh and Carlisle. But, I won't lie, it was a relief to see Christi and Ryan come home, so I could hand off all the responsibility.
I think I remember it was Charles Dickens who said, "Children are a heritage of the Lord, and it is not a slight thing when those who are so fresh from God love us." I got to experience that love all week long, and I am so grateful for the opportunity...wouldn't have missed it for the world.
When they wrapped their little arms around me as we kissed good night, it reminded me all over again of my own children, and how I loved that time of day. The sweet, clean smell of their bathtub-fresh skin, the tenderness of their bedtime whispers, the stubborn refusal to call it quits for the day, the time-tested bed time stories, the gentle surrender to sleep. Memories of my children and my grandchildren blend together, and I am happy, truly happy.