veryone warned me. Many people explained that there would be no experience quite like this one. Several people even told me it would be the best thing in my life. Not quite a year and a half into the journey I agree with them in many ways.
In my case this grandchildren phenomena arrived in the bundles of two little boys born in September 2012. Elijah arrived and then Judah. I wrote about both of them when they were born and have written about them since. They provide more writing material than I could ever use. And my world has never quite righted itself.
Apparently it is quite acceptable for grandmothers (in my case Noni) to be terribly biased: to believe their grandchildren are the most beautiful, to think that their grandchildren are the most intelligent, to determine their grandchildren to be the most advanced and to just know their grandchildren are the sweetest and cutest. I am no exception.
Yes, I am that kind of grandmother.
Oh, how wise our good Father is. He knows what will soften our hard hearts. He knows what will smooth the edges of our jaded attitudes. He knows what will readjust the warped planes of our minds. These beautiful little boys have changed me, and I am so thankful.
How have they changed me? Too many ways to count or tell. Their influence in three areas must be measured exponentially.
Prayer. At least one day a week I keep each of the boys while their mamas work. I anticipate those days. Wednesdays and Fridays are my favorites. About midmorning on these days Elijah and Judah grow very tired, and I get to rock them to sleep. While their sweet eyes grow heavy, and their breathing evens and lengthens I lean my head down to their sweet little ears and I pray. Their eyelids lower slowly and I just keep praying. Their eyes close completely and I just keep praying. Whispering hope on these little boys. Pleading grace on these someday men. Speaking peace on their now gentle spirits. When their great big little boy bodies grow limp—legs and arms sprawled across my lap—my prayers slip into praise. As I peer down into their little faces—skin unblemished and smooth, lashes dark against their cheeks, sweet lips lax in deep sleep—I am overwhelmed. Overcome.
Purity. As we grow older we forget what it means to be pure. To not yet be jaded and cynical. We forget to look at the world as brand new. We no longer remember what it is to see snow for the first time, to hear the deep woof of a dog for the first time, to taste blueberries for the first time, to understand the concept of hot for the first time. Often when the boys are here, or I am with them, I simply watch them. I try not to interrupt them with my words, but observe their innocent purity. Their beautiful eyes are so full of light. My protective instincts poise ready; prepared to strike if anything endangers that innocence. Watching them helps me to remember God has called me to be pure of heart like Elijah and Judah. He doesn’t want me to look at people and the world with a skeptical cynicism. He wants me to see this world in wonder. Eyes wide. Mouth open. Hands outstretched.
Pleasure. Elijah and Judah teach me to enjoy life. They remind me to savor this daily living of mine, to relish every moment, every detail regardless of how insignificant it may seem. These little boys understand pleasure. They relish food as it was meant to be—popping blackberries and blueberries in their mouths and saying, “ummhh”. Elijah and Judah have both been taught to be gentle. Their sweet hands brush your face in a downward stroke as they watch your face. They give open-mouthed kisses generously and their heads lay on your shoulder or chest—sometimes with arms wrapped around your neck—in a pulling-the-heartstrings hug. These little boys laugh with abandon. No inhibitions. No curbing the volume. And when they belly laugh I come unglued. The flyswatter and Noni swatting crazily at flies caused raucous fits and chortles with Judah. Noni’s version of the big bad wolf blowing the little pigs’ house down caused Elijah to throw back his head and chuckle. These little boys are good teachers. They gently remind me of how often I neglect this gift of pleasure God has given us. I forget that laughter is such good medicine. I fail to remember how affection can be healing.
Today, on this Thursday a week before Thanksgiving I am thankful for Elijah and Judah.
Father, I bless you and praise and thank you today for Noni’s boys. For Elijah and Judah and the richness they bring to my life. Thank you for how they have expanded the capacity of my heart. Thank you for the reasons they give me pause—to wonder, to gaze, to laugh, to enjoy, to ponder and to breathe. Thank you, Father, for these little boys who will become men. My mouth cannot speak what grips my heart. Father, there are no words for this heritage I see in Elijah and Judah—this continuing of generations and family. Father, I am undone when I see Elijah and Judah’s mamas’ faces in theirs. Father, there is no ability in me to fathom what your plan holds for them. But I ask, I pray, for you to carry all you have planned for Elijah and Judah to completion. Thank you. Thank you. Amen